The Baltimore County Public School Board is considering a variety of options for the redistricting of several elementary school districts within central Baltimore County for the purpose of incorporating the new Mays Chapel Elementary School into the district.
Three options were originally proposed (Options 1, 2 and 3), all of which adversely affect Riderwood Elementary School and the surrounding community as a whole, but most significantly the nearly 350 homeowners and nearly 50 current students originally expected to be reassigned to the new Mays Chapel Elementary School district under all three proposed options.
Subsequently, at the BCPS Redistricting Committee meeting on November 13, 2013, the idea of including Riderwood ES, West Towson ES and Hampton ES in the Mays Chapel ES redistricting plan appears to have been seriously reconsidered. This is in light of pending changes to West Cromwell ES, which could affect these three districts in the future. Since one of the stated objectives of the Redistricting Committee is to minimize the possibility of redistricting an area more than once, it was expected that these initial options (1, 2 and 3) would be revised to exclude Riderwood, West Towson and Hampton.
On November 20, 2013 the BCPS Redistricting Committee met again. Three new redistricting options (#s 7, 8 and 9) were introduced. Option 7 involved no redistricting of Riderwood ES, while Options 8 and 9 were identical in their treatment of Riderwood homes north of Seminary Avenue to Options 1-3. However, that same night the committee voted to narrow down the list of options from nine to the four that should move forward to the community redistricting forum scheduled for December 11, 2013. The committee chose options 4, 5, 6 and 7, all of which have the same net effect for the Riderwood Community (no homes redistricted to Mays Chapel ES).
However, just days after the vote took place to determine which redistricting options should move forward to the public forum (the public's only opportunity to voice concerns about how redistricting affects their communities and central Baltimore County in general), it was discovered that the procedures were not followed for the vote (principals were instructed to cast votes, though technically they are not voting members of the redistricting committee). While this procedural error would normally not be expected to affect a re-vote (since the committee members from each district discussed the options in their own small groups and likely voted in similar, if not identical, ways to their principals), BCPS used the opportunity to make a public statement on their website which altered the instructions to the committee (giving them new, more specific guidelines to which to adhere - such as suggesting 80% utilization of the new school should be a goal, and suggesting diversity at one particular school - Pot Spring ES - was not acceptable in some/all current options), thereby sending a clear message to committee members that the four options voted forward at this meeting did not meet with BCPS approval.
As we head into this evening's redistricting committee meeting (6pm at Dulaney Valley High School - the public may attend but may NOT participate), we've been told to expect new options presented for consideration by the committee. We've also been told that no vote will happen tonight (which we presume means that all options drafted to date, including Options 1-9 and any new options presented this evening, will move forward for public review at tomorrow night's public redistricting forum - 6pm on 12/12/2013 at Carver Center in Towson). While we do not yet know what new options will be introduced this evening, recent events are both discouraging (in terms of doing what makes the most sense for Riderwood Elementary School and its families) and concerning (since BCPS seems to be actively interfering in what should otherwise be an independent analysis and recommendation from the committee). We'll be sure to let you know what happens as events unfold, and hope to have more encouraging news to report this evening. Remember that if you cannot attend tonight, you can still tune in as the event will be streamed live at: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/614460
Follow the arrows below to learn more about the issue and help us ensure redistricting is done in a fair and sensible way, both for Riderwood students and all BCPS students.