School board heeds committee recommendation for Mays Chapel boundary

The Baltimore County Board of Education on Tuesday approved a redistricting option that will pull students from four schools to attend the new Mays Chapel Elementary School in Timonium, ending a months-long process that grew contentious ahead of the board's vote.

The option chosen, known as Option B1, takes students from Padonia International, Pinewood, Pot Spring, and Warren elementaries, including students living as far east as Fox Hollow Golf Course, to Mays Chapel. Option B1 won by a 7-4 vote.

Tuesday's vote ended a process that began in October with the first of six meetings of the redistricting committee. The committee, which included parents, staff, and principals from 10 York Road corridor elementary schools, worked through several boundary drafts. In January, the committee voted to forward Option B1 to the school board by an 11-10 vote.

Though a second option, A1, was presented to the board, Tuesday's vote was on whether or not to accept the committee's recommendation, B1.

Critics of B1 said a pocket of students pulled from the Sherwood Road area of Cockeysville who currently attend Pot Spring Elementary would be subject to long bus rides, and have warned against changing the school's diversity too much with redistricting.

"We at Pot Spring know we're in need of [overcrowding] relief," parent Marie Depew said during the meeting's public comment session. "But this relief cannot come at the expense of a balanced classroom."

Members of the Riderwood community, whose school is affected in Option A1 but not B1, spoke at several board meetings to urge the board to honor the redistricting committee's choice of B1.

"There's hundreds of man-hours invested in this," Bill Adams, who spoke in support of Option B1, said Tuesday during the public comment. "[The committee] chose B1 because it satisfies all of the criteria as best as you can."

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