Photo Courtesy of Allan Kittelman’s Facebook
September 18, 2017
On September 11th, Allan Kittleman, the county executive for Howard County, sent out a Facebook post issuing the possible postponement of the 2018 school redistricting.
Kittleman and the HCPSS interim superintendent, Dr. Michael J. Martirano, urged the Howard County Board of Education to fast track the construction of High School #13, or HS#13, to Fall of 2022. The new high school would help relieve overcrowding in certain high schools. It is highly plausible that the postponement of redistricting is caused by extreme complaints from parents, students, and teachers.
Back in June 2017, the Howard County Public School System announced that they would be initiating a redistricting of almost 8,800 students throughout elementary, middle, and high schools. This redistricting is due to two issues within Howard County. The first reason being extreme highs and lows in school populations: some school are far past overcrowded while other schools are severely underpopulated. The second reason is the building of a Elementary School #42, causing the transfer of students from their original elementary school into ES#42. In turn, the school system has to ensure that when those students enter middle and high school, their future school populations are not over or under crowded. Parents, students, and teachers alike were in an uproar after the announcement, talking on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as speaking at public HCPSS planning meetings to voice their complaints and possible solutions.
Originally, there was to be the redistricting in the Fall of 2018 and HS#13 was planned to open in 2024, causing another redistricting. However, Allan Kittleman suggested that if HS#13 could be fast tracked and built by the Fall of 2022, the redistricting for the 2018-2019 school year would be postponed until 2022. This plan is still in the making but seems to be gaining attention around the Howard County community.
Both County Executive Kittleman and Dr. Martirano are aware of the implications of redistricting high school students. Approximately 42% of the students planned to be redistricted in the 2018 plan were from high schools. These moves would destruct student-teacher and student-counselor relationships, in addition to the students’ friendships. According to Dr. Martirano, the new plan to push the redistricting to the Fall of 2022 and the multi-year boundary adjustment plan, “will level capacity utilization among schools while avoiding the disruption of a broad-scale boundary line adjustment.” This would eliminate the main issue of population volumes and would be less of a shock for students who have to switch schools.
Dr. Martirano will be proposing the new 2022 redistricting plan to the Board of Education on October 3rd.