As the HCPSS area adjustment process moves forward, FEI commends the BOE for the collaboration and compromise witnessed at last night’s work session. We continue to support Dr. Wu’s plan, but acknowledge it will take the ideas and work of multiple board members to create a final solution. FEI continues to strongly support the following principles as redistricting planning evolves:
- Putting our students’ needs first and minimizing student moves.
- Providing a solution that incorporates BOE and
community feedback, with a focus on:
- Fiscal responsibility – our County must adhere to a budget, and cost is a clear factor in redistricting.
- Maintenance of community boundaries and feeds (per Policy 6010 IV.B.2.a and b) – we need to avoid frequent widespread redistricting and provide stability for our students.
- Focus on improving socio-economic status and supporting the reduction in achievement gaps for the neediest, not just balancing percentages
- Planning for a bright future. Poorly executed and hasty redistricting will mean significant double moves due to High School 13, slated to open in 2024.
- Consistency with proposed legislation put forth by the Howard County State Delegation. State legislators have proposed legislation which also logically separates balancing utilization and capacity from addressing the achievement gap, while also aiming to address both important issues efficiently and appropriately.
Lastly, FEI believes a transparent process is critical. When prioritizing community feedback, we urge the BOE to remember that as new polygons are proposed in planning, these polygons did not have the advantage of speaking before the BOE during a community hearing. Adequate time must be allowed for our neighbors to submit written testimony.
We encourage our entire community to stay engaged and submit your thoughts as plans evolve and appreciate the BOE’s continued openness to feedback and listening to our County’s residents.