Redistricting is not a prerequisite for state funding for new school construction

From numerous previous conversations, I was told that the Maryland State will not grant funding to HCPSS for new school construction until HCPSS school redistricting is done. Today I know from two sources that this information is not correct.

So we need push both HCPSS and the county government to work together, decide a location, secure the funding, and begin to construct new schools asap. It takes several years for the whole process and we cannot wait any time longer.

Source 1: from HCPSS

From office Planning’s Renee Kamen: having open capacity in other parts of county does not preclude us from qualifying for state funding for a new high school.

Source 2: from Howard County PTAC.

State Funding and Utilization

State Funding and Utilization

The Interagency Committee on School Construction is the agency that local school systems appeal to for state funding. The IAC recommendations are then presented to the Board of Public Works for approval. I spoke with the Executive Director of the Public School Construction program, Robert Gorrell and asked whether having available capacity at other schools precludes the school system from receiving state funding (do we have to wait for redistricting before we can start the process for a new high school?). Mr Gorrell was extremely helpful. Though it is extremely important, having underutilized schools is just one of many factors taken into account; the levels at which schools are overcrowded is also considered.

The IAC Procedures Manual states that enrollment projections of the subject and adjacent schools must show that the school will be at least 50 percent occupied at the completion of the project and fully utilized within seven years of the date of project submission (Ducketts Lane was at capacity when it opened..)

The manual also states that the majority of the enrollment for a proposed new school should be in the attendance area at the time of proposal. Click on link for entire online procedure manual or see below for the relevant passages. -Vicky Cutroneo PTACHC President 1.

The majority of the enrollment for a proposed new school should be in the attendance area at the time of proposal. Nearby schools of the same type or grade structure as the proposed new school (elementary, middle, high) should be projected to be fully utilized or overcrowded within seven (7) years of the September 30 prior to the date of submission of the CIP request, and the proposed facility should be projected to be at least 50% utilized at the time of opening.

EVALUATION AND APPROVAL OF PROJECT REQUESTS A. General Projects will generally be evaluated on the basis of past and projected enrollments, not only at the school in question, but at adjacent or nearby schools, and on consistency with the EFMP. Projects for additional capacity may not be recommended for planning approval or funding where adequate capacity is available at adjacent schools. See Section 102.4.B.2. and 102.4.B.4.b. In most cases, enrollment projections of the subject and adjacent schools must show that the school will be at least 50% occupied at the completion of the project and will be fully utilized within seven years of the date of project submission. School facility planners are encouraged to work with planning and zoning officials to develop and use school land banking procedures so that an inventory of future prospective school sites are maintained in each jurisdiction is areas targeted for growth. It is important that future school sites are situated within neighborhood and that the sites be educationally suitable. Emphasis should be given to acquisition of future school sites associated with major subdivision approvals and municipal annexations. Consideration should also be given to school sites in existing communities where appropriate, such as in areas targeted for redevelopment.

Posted in HCPSS | 1 Comment

Some thoughts on AAC redistricting proposal

The AAC is still taking comments from the residents, but I am not sure how exactly certain comments are evaluated. Last night Polygon 147 (newly developed Centennial Overlook and 50 years old Woodland and Oak Hill) definitely showed up strong in the meeting room and their presence moved them back to Centennial High. Originally their neighborhood was moved to Wilde Lake High School.

I talked to several really concerned parent groups on the parking lot and here are my thoughts.

1) Walkers should stay walkers. Busing them away is wrong. We can move kids in many ways, but when HCPSS is short of funding, extra bus service will cost much more. Walkers are one of the core parts of a school district. Tearing that feelings of belongings apart is totally unnecessary and wrong.

2) Maintaining contiguous neighborhood’s stability is very important.

3) Now many over capacity schools are back to 100%. This actually creates new capacity for new housing developments there again. So those current over capacity schools will be filled up quickly again. Then what is the purpose of this redistricting?

4) Strong APFO is needed to avoid future redistricting chaos again. Show up in front of the County Council on September 11. Wear Yellow. The mess should stop now.

a) Reduce APFO capacity from 115% to 100%.

b) Remove the three year probation period. Right now if a project fails the APFO test at the first try, it will pass automatically without a second test after waiting for three years. This is the loophole.

c) Increase the developer fee.


Posted in BOE, HCPSS, Howard County | 8 Comments

I am now a 2018 Howard County Board of Education Candidate

I am now a 2018 Howard County Board of Education Candidate. I filed my candidacy form Monday afternoon. I believe with our parents and kids, school teachers and staff, and our diverse communities, we can provide one of the best education experiences for our children. I am here to listen to your voice and concern and share your joy and your kids achievement. Vote for Dr. Wu, to work for you. 🙂

ChaoWu Candidate Filing on MD Election website

Posted in BOE, ChaoWu, HCPSS | Leave a comment

22nd Annual Holland Awards Dinner for Howard County Food Bank on Oct 19 2017

22nd Annual Holland Awards Dinner for Howard County Food Bank on Oct 19 2017

As you may know, the Howard County Food Bank opened its new location in late 2016. The new state-of-the-art facility is already serving 20% more families than it did in its previous, smaller location. With more warehouse space, the new site is currently providing much-needed groceries at a rate of 27,000 customers served annually.

This year, Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC) will honor the work of Senator Guy Guzzone and Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman at its 22nd Annual Holland Awards Dinner. Both individuals were instrumental in the opening of the new Food Bank.

This prestigious Awards Dinner brings together leaders in business, government, nonprofit and religious sectors and raises funds to allow Community Action Council to continue its mission of helping people change their lives. The dinner will be held on Thursday, October 19, 2017 at the Turf Valley Resort from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $100 per individual or $900 for a table of 10.

More info:

Please contact me at if you would like more information about the CAC, the Howard County Food Bank or the Holland Awards Dinner.

Posted in Howard County | Leave a comment

2017 August-Sept CA Schedule

Aug 14        Ice Rink reopens

Aug 16        Volunteering Made Easy seminar         6:00 PM

Aug 21        BOC meeting                                       7:30 PM

Aug 31        Walking Tour KC (Huntington Pool)     10:00 AM

Sept 5         Swim Center reopens

Sept 9         50th Birthday Color Columbia Plein Air Paint Out 8:30 AM

Sept 13       Columbia at 50 Film; HCC  (Must register)     6:00 PM

Sept 14       CA Board Work Session            7:30 PM

Sept 14       Walking Tour Harper’s Choice (Hobbits Glen Pool) 10:00 AM

Sept 18       Audit Committee meeting           7:30 PM

Sept 23       Bike About; Lake Elkhorn            9:30 AM

Sept 28       CA Board meeting                       7:30 PM

Posted in Columbia Association | Leave a comment

Some River Hill Redistricting History

From David E. Thalheimer, Clarksville Happenings of Facebook. It is very informative.

Back to the Future (of Redistricting): I wanted to provide a little historical perspective on the current redistricting proposals and discuss the current proposals. The HCPSS presented a Feasibility Study and the AAC is in the process of drafting their own proposal, which will be presented to the Superintendent. The Superintendent will then have his staff prepare a final recommendation to the Board. The Board will look at this recommendation, but may decide to start all over again.

For those who remember, there was a comparable high school redistricting in 2002 that moved many students from the west to the east and was very contentious for the residents of Clarksville/River Hill and the surrounding area. Glenelg HS had water and septic issues that required a reduction in capacity, so many students were redistricted to RHHS. However, because the population of River Hill was experiencing a huge amount of growth at the same time and could not handle the influx of Glenelg students, a large portion of the neighborhood was redistricted from RHHS to Atholton and Reservoir. In 2005, the new Marriotts Ridge HS was built, which then required further redistricting. The new school drew students from RHHS, Centennial, Glenelg, and Mount Hebron.

Now, 16 years later, the pendulum has swung back due to over-capacity in the east and the need for a new high school to handle the growth.

However, until the new high school site is located and funded, we will not be able to design a solid redistricting plan that does not need to be changed within a few years. So, I think that redistricting this year may be premature as it may result in further dislocations. The Board first needs to finalize the plan for a new high school. If you are interested, please see these redistricting news articles from 2002: and 2005:

Posted in HCPSS, River Hill | Leave a comment

Updated School Redistricting for River Hill Area

This new plan was presented by the Area Attendance Committee. I extracted the data from the map from the school website: The presented result is very difficult to comprehend, for example, how many kids are moved, how their metrics is changing.

All numbers below are polygon numbers.

Clarksville Elementary School:

  • Accepting: 177, 1177, 141, 141, 142, 140 from Swanfield ES

Pointers Run Elementary School:

  • Accepting: 127 from Clemens Crossing ES
  • Accepting 112,2112, 1112 from Fulton ES
  • Sending 1189, 189. 1192, 118, 2114 to Dayton Oaks ES

Clarksville Middle School:

  • Accepting: 198,1198, 2198, 1192, 1176 from Folly Quarter MS
  • Accepting : 1296, 296, 127, 126 from Lime Klin MS

River Hill High School:

  • Accepting: 179,1179,1178, 178 from Marriotts Ridge HS
  • Accepting: 2175, 1175, 175, 1177, 1141, 177, 142, 141, 1140, 1172, 172, 1174, 174, 3174, 2174,1053, 135, 2135, 53, 2134, 1134, 1135, 2053, 1066, 66 from Wilde Lake HS
  • Accepting: 190 from Atholton
  • Accepting: 118, 114, 1114, 2114 from Reservoir HS
  • Sending: 182, 1182, 3281, 2182, 2183, 1183, 183 to Glenelg High

Atholton High School:

  • Accepting: 1115, 122, 1125, 125.

Finding your polygon here:

Posted in HCPSS | 3 Comments