Nicole Hewitt Maryland 0

Petition Against Riderwood Elementary School Redistricting

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Dear Riderwood Families, Friends and Neighbors,

We are asking for your support to prevent the redistricting of the neighborhoods of Huntspring, Hillside at Seminary, Seminary Overlook and The Fields II at Seminary. As you know, these neighborhoods have always been a part of the Riderwood family, and according to a proposal by the Baltimore County Public Schools, will be redistricted to the new Mays Chapel elementary school beginning Fall 2014. Whether or not you have children who will attend or who have/are attending Riderwood, you could be adversely affected by the redistricting. We are asking you to support our efforts to keep our community united by signing this petition.

We oppose the redistricting for the following reasons:

1. Riderwood Elementary School (ES)is currently only 7 children over capacity, and yet there are 47 children being redistricted. This would leave Riderwood ES with the lowest utilization rate of any of the ten schools addressed in the plan, while leaving other local elementary schools above state-rated capacity limits. The redistricting may impact the number of teachers and programs at Riderwood ES since it will affect the school budget.

2. Redistricting these neighborhoods would have a detrimental effect on the community by harming property values. Riderwood's Blue Ribbon designation is used by realtors as an enticement to potential buyers and is an extremely important consideration for families when looking to purchase homes in these neighborhoods. The loss of the existence of a Blue Ribbon public school would likely lead to less demand and lower home values in the affected neighborhoods. Economic studies conclude that in areas with relatively high incomes and house prices, altering school district boundaries negatively impacts home values.

3. Redistricting would lead to a substantial loss of revenue for the Riderwood PTA and this will impact Riderwood ES children. The families from the affected neighborhoods have been active supporters of Riderwood ES and its PTA. They have given countless volunteer hours to the many programs. The 33 affected families represent about 9% of the total number of families at Riderwood. However, their average $3,605 in annual giving via donations and fundraisers represents 12% of the $30,000 collected annually by the PTA. This year these families contributed more than $8,000 for stage curtains and lighting (one family gave $5,000 and another gave $3,000). Additionally, twofamilies from these neighborhoods led the effort to raise over $16,000 for the Bull and Boots fundraiser to benefit school technology.

4. Redistricting will isolate our children from their geographically defined community. Our communities all have southern egress to Seminary Avenue. We are connected to the Riderwood neighborhoods like Fields I at Seminary, Seminary Ridge, Thornleigh, Village Green and Longford. We are geographically isolated from neighborhoods to the north (there is no through access to the north from any of our communities). Parents and children from our neighborhoods run/drive/ride/walk south, making the southern neighborhoods the "local community."

5. Our children will be segregated by school districting from their recreational districts. The affected neighborhoods participate in the TTRC and LTRC sports programs and activities, in addition to Riderwood-based clubs such as boy scout and girl scout troops. Moving our neighborhoods to a new school district will detrimentally impact the children's involvement in these recreational programs, and separate them from their friends and Riderwood ESclassmates. TheMays Chapel district more appropriately orients with the Cockeysville recreationcouncilwhich is NOT the community recreation council for our neighborhoods.

6. The time our children spend on a bus will increase substantially. The new Mays Chapel elementary school is three-times farther away from our neighborhood than Riderwood ES.

Thank you for supporting our effort to keep the Riderwood community united.

****Pleaseinclude your address in the comment field when signing the petition.


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