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Howard County Council created school redistricting problem with over development

Alice Chen 12, center, who can see River Hill High from her backyard, might be redistricted out of the high school. She made the signs she and mother Fen Han are holding in protest. Anti-redistricting plan parents and students demonstrate at Howard County School Board headquarters.
Alice Chen 12, center, who can see River Hill High from her backyard, might be redistricted out of the high school. She made the signs she and mother Fen Han are holding in protest. Anti-redistricting plan parents and students demonstrate at Howard County School Board headquarters. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun)

I have lived in Howard County for almost 20 years and have two school age children. I’ve been watching with horror as the public school redistricting fiasco unfolds (“Lessons already learned from Howard school redistricting,” Oct. 28). The Howard County Council is negligent and bears most of the blame for this situation by allowing residential development without providing adequate resources for commensurate public school capacity growth. In Howard County, the council can dump the mess they’ve made on the Board of Educatio, which is then tasked with finding a remedy to the overcrowding and putative lack of equity that has developed across the public school system.

Incredibly, disruptive redistricting that involves shuffling children from their current schools to other schools in an attempt to balance capacity and equity appears to be the only solution as the council has not done their due diligence either in funding or preparation for building new schools to accommodate residential growth. The redistricting process began in January, and the Board of Education is scheduled to make final decisions by November 21. Now, with about 3 weeks remaining in this almost year long process, the public board of education work sessions look like orientation sessions for the redistricting process.

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Board members appear unprepared, lack knowledge about the redistricting process and spend time debating about the process itself, something that should have happened many months ago if not before the process began in the first place. I don’t deny that board members do a lot of work for little financial compensation, but they voluntarily ran for these elected positions and they should be held to fully understanding and competently executing their jobs as board members. They look like crew members of a sinking Titanic, reading the instruction manual for the life boats. Unfortunately, in this analogy, our kids are the passengers on this doomed vessel.

Calvin Ball, the Howard County Council and Howard County Board of Education should all be ashamed of themselves, and I encourage every county voter to head to the polls when the time comes.

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Paul Dowell, Hanover

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