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Board of Education Takes Action on Attendance Area Adjustments for 2018-2019 School Year

November 16th, 2017

The Howard County Board of Education has revised Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) elementary and middle school attendance areas for the 2018-2019 school year. The adjustments are needed to populate new Elementary School #42, scheduled to open in Hanover in fall 2018, and to realign middle school feeder patterns in conjunction with the elementary attendance areas. The final decision was made during the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting on November 16, 2017.

No high school redistricting will take place for the 2018-2019 school year; the next high school redistricting process will begin prior to the opening of new High School #13. The Board endorsed the JumpStart initiative to expand dual enrollment options for high school students. The expansion offers programmatic choices that provide students at overcrowded Centennial, Howard and Long Reach high schools the option to transfer to Oakland Mills or River Hill high schools. This expansion will more than double the number of HCPSS students taking advantage of dual enrollment opportunities through Howard Community College.

The decision culminates a months-long process begun in April that included extensive planning, evaluation, data verification, Attendance Area Committee meetings, work sessions and feedback provided by thousands of stakeholders through community meetings, surveys and public hearings.

“I’m very pleased with the collaborative, inclusive and transparent process that helped us create the best possible solution for our children and families,” said Board of Education Chairman Cynthia Vaillancourt. “Thank you to the community members who took the time to participate in this process. I look forward to continuing our discussions about attendance area adjustments as we review Board Policy 6010 to make refinements and incorporate lessons learned.”

Interim Superintendent Michael J. Martirano and the Board of Education thanked the OSP Staff, AAC committee members and the thousands of residents who participated in the process.

“We have taken a big step forward tonight and I look forward to working with our community and all stakeholders as we implement the Board’s decision,” said Martirano. “Overcrowding didn’t happen overnight, and it will take time to truly find a balance while maintaining our communities and planning for future growth. I am pleased that we were able to work together to develop innovative ways to address school overcrowding.

In addition, Martirano thanked the county government for negotiating the purchase of a new elementary school site in Ellicott City and accelerating the construction of High School #13.

“Combined with the acceleration of a new high school in the east, the replacement and expansion of Talbott Springs Elementary in Columbia, and the use of innovative programmatic offerings such as JumpStart, the Turf Valley school site will ensure that we have the necessary capacity across the county to support long-term student enrollment growth,” Martirano added.

The changes approved by the Board are listed on the BoardDocs website (November 16, 2017 meeting, Approval of Attendance Area Adjustment Plan).

A new School Locator and final Attendance Area maps for the 2018-19 school year are in development, and will be available on the school system website by November 30.