Communities should not be split by school districts

The Castanea Study discussed in the recent article, “School boundary study to decide where students from new Lutherville development will be districted” (Nov. 1), addresses the issue that the Castanea Estates development straddles two school attendance areas. If the current school attendance areas policy was applied, some Castanea school children would go to Fort Garrison Elementary and others to Mays Chapel Elementary. This would split the neighborhood. The objective of the study is to maintain the continuity of neighborhoods, to make efficient use of Baltimore County Public Schools facilities and not split the community by determining the one school attendance area that the entire community wound attend together. This is an appropriate objective and we do not oppose it.

Our community, Hunt Cup Hill - Shawan Valley, just a few miles north on Falls Road lives with that issue today. Gent Road runs through the middle of Hunt Cup Hill - Shawan Valley and splits the community now. The children on the west side of Gent (Hunt Cup Hill) are assigned to Franklin Elementary (nine miles away by car) and children on the east side of Gent (Shawan Valley) go to Mays Chapel Elementary (less than five miles). We have requested several times that the school system apply the same criteria (that is, to maintaining the continuity of the community and make efficient use of BCPS facilities) being applied to Castanea, to address the same issue for the Hunt Cup Hill - Shawan Valley community.

The response from the school system has been “we do not foresee in the near future a study that would include your development.” While the Castanea Study is laudable, there are no families there now and probably won’t be for at least a year or two. Today in the Hunt Cup Hill - Shawan Valley community, real children and real families deal with a split community. BCPS is correct in its objective to maintain the continuity of neighborhoods. Our community deserves the same attention.

Tom Lonegro, Reisterstown

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