Howard County Schools Redistricting: Letter to the Board of Education and Alternative Plan
Dear Oakland Mills Residents,
Many of you are aware of and concerned about the upcoming Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) redistricting. The redistricting will take effect for the 2018-2019 school year, and HCPSS released a feasibility report and established an Area Attendance Committee (AAC) this spring and summer to create redistricting plans.
The Oakland Mills Village Board is disappointed in the process and plan we have observed to date. With input from our local PTAs and unanimous support from the members of the Village Board, I am sending this letter and alternative redistricting plan to the Acting Superintendent, the Board of Education, and the Director of the HCPSS Office of Planning.
You will see our concerns discussed in detail in the letter, but to summarize:
The AAC formed without appropriate representation from East Columbia;
The AAC does not reflect the diversity of the families in the school system;
The data provided by HCPSS to the AAC for their scenario planning is substantially flawed;
The Thunder Hill neighborhood would be removed from Oakland Mills High School while its attendance area would stretch all the way to U.S. 1;
Oakland Mills High School, which as the highest percentage of students receiving free and reduced meals among Howard County High Schools, would see that percentage increase; and
The exchange of students between Stevens Forest Elementary and Talbott Springs Elementary would impact over 40 percent of the families in both schools and create a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically segregated school at Talbott Springs.
If you agree that the alternative redistricting plan for Oakland Mills schools that we propose is better than the one proposed in the feasibility report, please submit this plan as part of your feedback to HCPSS. For your convenience, please refer to this slide presentation with maps that illustrates the polygons we propose changing as well as the justifications for those changes.