One week out from the redistricting vote, the Howard County Board of Education was divided on several decisions for elementary schools made during Thursday’s nine-hour work session.
While motions and consensuses on redistricting decisions have occurred during the school board’s eight work sessions so far, nothing is final until the scheduled Nov. 21 vote.
Howard schools Superintendent Michael Martirano presented a recommendation in August to move nearly 7,400 students to combat school overcrowding, address inequities in the distribution of students affected by poverty and establish a road map for the county’s 13th high school, in Jessup.
Students will be moved ahead of the 2020-21 school year.
- Use school board member Jennifer Mallo’s scenario that was presented Wednesday night as a base and modify as needed, passed 4-3
- Move polygons 64, 129, 1129 and 1064 from Pointers Run Elementary to Swansfield Elementary, 4-3
- Move Simpson Mill Townhomes in polygon 130 from Clemens Crossing Elementary to Swansfield Elementary, 4-3
- Address overcrowding at Hollifield Station Elementary, 7-0. However, an earlier motion failed 3-4 earlier in the work session to begin this discussion.
- Move polygons 105, 1105 and 1308 from Hollifield Station Elementary to Veterans Elementary, 7-0
- Move polygon 36 from Elkridge Elementary to Ducketts Lane Elementary, 7-0
- Move polygons 7, 221, 1007, 1221 and 2221 from Fulton Elementary to Hammond Elementary, 6-1
- Move polygons 17, 18 and 1018 from Hammond Elementary to Bollman Bridge Elementary, 5-2
- Move polygons 191, 1191 and 3191 from Veterans Elementary to Northfield Elementary, 6-1
- Move polygons 27 and 1027 from Patuxent Valley Middle to Thomas Viaduct Middle
- Merge the walker zone from polygon 1148 into polygon 2148
- Move polygon 55 from Lake Elkhorn Middle to Oakland Mills Middle, 7-0
- Move polygon 1110 from Stevens Forest Elementary to Thunder Hill Elementary, 7-0
- Move polygons 113 and 2062 from Thunder Hill Elementary back to Stevens Forest Elementary, 7-0
- Move polygons 59 and 3059 from Stevens Forest Elementary back to Talbott Springs Elementary, 7-0
- Move polygons 2132, 1132 and 132 from Clemens Crossing Elementary to Bryant Woods Elementary, 3-4
- Address overcrowding at Hollifield Station Elementary, 3-4
- Move polygon 101 from Veterans Elementary to Worthington Elementary, 3-4
- Move polygons 43 and 1043 out of Long Reach High back to Howard High, 2-5
- Move polygons 100 and 1100 from Waterloo Elementary to Veterans Elementary, 3-4. While this motion failed, the first motion of the work session to go from Mallo’s scenario as a base meant this motion was never needed, so the polygons are moving anyway.
A polygon is a cluster of neighborhoods and areas of the county that attend certain elementary, middle and high schools.
The divided votes caused several motions to fail Thursday, with only three of the seven school board members voting in favor of specific motions.
Mallo said she attended a Clemens Crossing Elementary School PTA meeting Wednesday night, where community members said the impact of her proposal “for their community and their neighborhoods [was] really effectively catastrophic.”
She said, “One of the things that they made very, very clear is that not only does the proposal hit them, hit their particular elementary school harder than any other elementary school in the county with a 75% reshuffle, 11 of 16 polygons being moved in or out, in a really long-standing community.”
Mallo told the community members she would look at her proposal, as well as Martirano’s and school board member Chao Wu’s and, on Thursday, presented a “hybrid of things previously suggested.”
One of the motions passed would move the Simpson Mill Townhomes, located in Columbia, from Clemens Crossing Elementary to Swansfield Elementary. The townhouses are part of polygon 130.
Nearly 30 residents from polygon 130 attended Thursday’s work session, holding signs that read “Don’t Move 130, Clemens ES.”
Simpson Mill resident Rakesh Madhav wants to understand the rationale of moving the townhouses out of Clemens Crossing Elementary.
“What is the rationale picking out the townhome community … when the rest of the polygon is going to Clemens Crossing,” Madhav said, who has a kindergartner at Clemens Crossing.
The townhouses consist of Green Mill Way, River Rock Way, Flower Mill Court and Saw Mill Court, according to residents.
Howard residents can submit written testimony until Tuesday.
The final work session is scheduled for Monday, beginning at 1 p.m. A straw vote on the final plan is scheduled for Monday’s work session.