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Howard school system sets Dec. 13 deadline for redistricting exemptions to be filed

Although the Howard County Board of Education voted last month to move about 5,400 students to new schools for the next academic year, not all of those students will leave their current school.

As part of the contentious 10-month redistricting process, the school board voted to exempt several student groups for the 2020-21 school year. These student groups have the option to either attend the new school to which they are assigned or remain at their current school.

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Exempted students and their families need to decide on an option by Dec. 13, according to the school system.

Those exempted include:

  • Rising fifth graders
  • Rising eighth graders
  • Rising juniors
  • Rising seniors
  • Students with an Individual Education Program as of Nov. 21
  • Students with a 504 Plan as of Nov. 21
  • Students enrolled in the 30- or 60-credit JumpStart programs, where students take courses at Howard Community College
  • Students with at least one custodial parent who’s on active military duty

The board’s approved plan significantly scaled back schools Superintendent Michael Martirano’s initial proposal of sending 7,396 of the district’s 59,000 students to different schools. In August, Martirano presented his proposal with three goals in mind: alleviate capacity problems, balance student poverty levels among schools, and establish a road map for the 13th high school, in Jessup.

To see whether their child is eligible for an exemption, parents or guardians need to log in on hcpss.org/connect and select the redistricting 2020 tab. From there, if a student is eligible, an option will allow for a parent to choose which school their child will attend — either their current or new school — and if a transportation option is available.

“Eligible students of parents/guardians who do not complete the exemption process will be moved to the redistricted school next year,” according to the school system.

“If you believe your child qualifies for an exemption and do not see that option in HCPSS Connect, please contact your child’s current school immediately,” the school system said.

Any questions regarding the exemption process or language or technology assistance should be directed to their child’s school.

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