Baltimore County school Superintendent Dallas Dance announced Tuesday small adjustments to his new high school scheduling plan, but made it clear he will not delay its implementation for a year as parents requested.
Dance had announced last year that all high schools would move in the fall to a schedule that will allow students to take eight classes a semester.
But after vocal opposition, particularly from Hereford High parents, the superintendent said that he will allow juniors and seniors at Hereford, Patapsco and Kenwood high schools to keep their current schedule of four classes a semester under some limited circumstances.
Some students, he said, had planned their high school academic careers based on the four-period day and he would allow the principal to adjust their schedules to allow them to continue so they could complete certain classes.
He will not make changes for the students who were in schools with seven-period days that are switching to the new schedule, even though some of those schools had also expressed concern about the switch.
The changes did not satisfy parents at Hereford High. Parent Connie Taylor reacted with disappointment.
"I really thought we were going to have some kind of compromise that wasn't just a Band-Aid. And that is what I hear proposed," she said.
She said Hereford Works, the organization that formed to fight the schedule change, is "going to be in a position to seek some legal advice to see what our options are."
At Hereford, Kenwood and Patapsco, students meet for twice as long each day to cover more material. They switch to four new classes for the second half of the year. Parents and students have said they like the flexibility it offers students who want to accelerate learning and the simplicity it allows students who struggle with attention deficit disorder and other learning issues.
Last week, the Baltimore County Council of PTAs asked the superintendent to delay the implementation of the uniform schedule across the county until it could be looked at more closely.
But Dance said at a news conference at school headquarters that he does not believe the schedule changes have significant opposition beyond a few schools.
Dance said he is making the changes to maximize staffing in the schools, reduce class size and give students more class options. In addition, he said, students who move midyear have lost credits because of different schedules around the county.