Parents, administrators and teachers at six Baltimore County elementary schools in the county’s northwest region weighed in Wednesday night on potential changes to school zones.
Committee members are nearing the end of a four-month process to select a new boundary map that relieves crowding at elementary schools and increases the diversity of the student body.
The group on Wednesday presented four draft maps to residents who live in the six zones. Residents stood around the maps taped up on the cafeteria wall of Pikesville Middle School, asking questions and airing concerns about the changes.
The boundary study poses “important questions not just for our kids but for the future of our neighborhoods,” said Jason Lieberman, a parent from Summit Park Elementary. “It has a huge ripple effect.”
The boundary study affects a total of 2,100 students who attend Bedford, Fort Garrison, Milbrook, Scotts Branch, Summit Park and Wellwood elementary schools. Currently, Wellwood and Milbrook elementary schools are significantly over capacity, but nearby elementary schools within the study area can provide relief.
Bedford and Summit Park elementary schools are among four county schools undergoing capital projects. Those students will move into new buildings next fall. The capital projects will add a total of 1,200 seats to the region to reduce overcrowding.
In previous years, children in kindergarten and prekindergarten attended Campfield Early Learning Center because there was no capacity at their neighborhood elementary school. But now, Bedford and Summit Park will have larger buildings, and those kindergarten and preschool children can return. Campfield, which has half-day and special needs programs, will close in 2026.
The new attendance zones will go into effect next academic year. Members of the boundary study committee will submit their recommended map to the county’s Board of Education in February for a vote in March.
Members considered 16 draft maps in October and selected four to present to the public. But some members and residents said Wednesday that, although the options reduce overcrowding, they were disappointed by the similarities of the maps.
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The attendance zone for Fort Garrison, which encompasses north Baltimore County, was largely unchanged in each map. Meanwhile, Summit Park in Pikesville would experience the brunt of the change with several maps sending an influx of students there.
“The maps should all look different,” Lieberman said. “This is like saying do you want a chicken tender, a chicken tender with salt or a chicken tender with pepper.
“I want to choose between a chicken tender and spaghetti,” he said.
Bassey Etim-Edet lives within walking distance of Bedford Elementary School, but when her preschooler is ready for kindergarten, she will attend Summit Park across town under the proposed zones. Etim-Edet will have to drive past a second school, Wellwood Elementary, to get there.
“I don’t want Bedford to be too close to capacity,” Etim-Edet said. “And we’re grateful to go to a new school.”
There are two more meetings scheduled before a map is sent to the school board. They are:
- Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (if needed).