William Bushey 0

Petition FOR the BCPS Redistricting Option A

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There are currently 2 options that will be proposed to the BCPS school board to address overcrowding in elementary schools in our area and re-draw boundary lines to populate the new Mays Chapel elementary school.


Demographics: Option A provides a better demographic balance for all of the involved schools. Therefore, Option A better conforms to the BCPS redistricting criterion of maintaining socioeconomic diversity at ALL schools. This is important because we want all of the children in the area to have the best chance to succeed academically. Research shows that students of all socio-economic levels will perform better academically when they are in a mixed socio-economic school rather than one with a high percentage of lower socioeconomic status students. Therefore, BCPS should choose an option that provides a better demographic balance among all schools.

Option B would exacerbate the current imbalance of socioeconomic diversity (measured by the percentage of students receiving free or reduced price meals - referred to as the FARMS percentage)at central areas schools. The 10 schools in the central area have an average FARMS of 20%, but most of this percentage is concentrated at Padonia, Warren, and Pot Spring schools. Neither of the redistricting options on the table would greatly affect the demographics of Padonia or Warren, but the two options have very different impacts on Pot Spring. Option B would increase the FARM% at Pot Spring Elementary from 41% to 48% while keeping the FARM% at neighboring Pinewood and Timonium schools very low—6% and 9%, respectively. On the other hand, Option A would slightly lower the FARM% at Pot Spring (to 39%) while Pinewood and Timonium would still remain under the area average at 10% and 19%, respectively.

The FARM% at Pot Spring has increased by 20% in the last five years and Pot Spring has not received additional resources to offset this increase. It is critical to select a redistricting option that mitigates this trend.

We find it unacceptable that any plan would increase the FARM% at a school that already has more than double the area average of FARMs students. Pot Spring does a great job educating students of diverse socio-economic levels; let’s not stretch the school’s resources so thin that the level of service drops. Minor increases in the FARM percentages at multiple schools will allow all of the schools in the central area to maintain their high achievement.

Relieving Overcrowding: The redistricting process is supposed to provide relief to overcrowded schools, but in Option B two schools that are not slated for additional construction in the next couple of years still remain OVER CAPACITY- Riderwood 102% and Timonium 107%. Although Riderwood would only be slightly over-enrolled at first, their enrollment is projected to increase over time, so it makes sense to provide relief now rather than later. Option A relieves overcrowding by reducing Riderwood and Timonium to fit their capacity while also keeping other schools that are not anticipating relief in the near future at or below capacity.
Concluding Remarks: We know that there is a vocal group of parents who support Option B only because this Option would leave their school untouched. We think that Option B has been recommended primarily because it affects the least number of students overall. However, this difference is negligible because Option B impacts 15% of the students that live in the boundaries of the 10 schools and Option A impacts 16%. Either way, most students stay at their current school. It does not make sense to favor an Option just because it affects 1% fewer students. Furthermore, the number of students affected has never been part of the redistricting criteria!
We urge the board to make a decision that adheres to the BCPS redistricting criteria rather than one that merely appeases a vocal subset of its constituents.

We are requesting your signature to petition the BCPS Board to select Option A when considering the redistricting options for the BCPS elementary schools.

Below is a list of upcoming meetings. There is a group ready to speak at each meeting with prepared statements.


February 11 – School Board Meeting – Recommendation made to the Board at this meeting – ESS Building 7pm

February 25 – School Board Meeting – ESS Building 630pm

February 26 – Public Hearing - Loch Raven High School 7:00pm

March 11 – School Board Meeting– Board Decision will be announced -- ESS Building 7:00pm

Blog with current updates: http://potspringstrong.blogspot.com/

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