2019 Boundary Review Process in HCPSS Schools

Boundary Review Process in HCPSS Schools

By Dr. Michael Martirano, HCPSS superintendent

Dear HCPSS Community,

On January 24, the Board of Education directed that HCPSS initiate a systemwide school boundary review, which could potentially impact any or all of the 74 comprehensive schools in our system for the 2020-2021 school year. This review is critical due to population growth that has resulted in crowding at many schools while schools in other areas are underutilized.

This boundary review will be structured differently than in the past, with process improvements to ensure that feedback is focused on the ideas presented in the Feasibility Study and provided in a format that staff can use to improve solutions. I want to emphasize that I value the needs and perspectives of all of our students, families and staff. I also want to make it clear that I will assign no special consideration for the priorities of any individual or specific planning area representatives, no matter how vocal or well-organized. Every stakeholder will have multiple and equitable available ways to receive accurate information and provide input.

Feasibility Study
The boundary review process will begin on June 13 with the release of the 2019 Feasibility Study. Community members will be invited to share feedback and recommendations through an online input form, four community input sessions, and three public hearings. The 2019 Feasibility Study:

  • Provides possible options based on data and available capacity for boundary adjustments.
  • Is a comprehensive look at the 10-year student enrollment projections for county schools.
  • Is based on the most currently available data, including population growth based on students yielded from sales of existing housing and from projected new housing units, and FARMs program participation.

Data Integrity
The 2019 Feasibility Study includes data that is carefully analyzed by independent consultant Cooperative Strategies, LLC. Pending available funding in the FY2020 budget, Cooperative Strategies, LLC, will also serve as a neutral facilitator for the process. The consultant will oversee the AAC’s work, test alternative scenarios, collect and compile public input, respond to questions and information needs, and advise me on a solution.

Attendance Area Committee (AAC)
This advisory committee reviews options presented in the Feasibility Study and makes recommendations to me to help inform my proposal to the Board, scheduled to be presented on August 20.

  • Members will represent community diversity and every planning region in the county, and include individuals who have served HCPSS in advisory roles or as partners.
  • The AAC reviews Policy 6010-School Attendance Areas and the contents of the Feasibility Study, and reports its recommendations to me in July.
  • AAC meetings are public, but the AAC is not responsible for gathering public input or developing attendance area scenarios.

Public Input
Community members have multiple opportunities and ways to provide input and recommendations.

Superintendent’s Recommendation Public Input Opportunities*

  • Online input form: open June 14 through August 1
  • Community input sessions – to provide feedback to me (Families may attend the session associated with the region in which they live based on the school locator map. Those who cannot attend their region’s session may attend Long Reach HS on Saturday, July 13. Families should attend only one session.)
    • Wednesday, July 10, 7-9 p.m. at Oakland Mills High School
      • Families currently zoned for Centennial HS, Howard HS, Mt. Hebron HS, Oakland Mills HS
    • Saturday, July 13, 9-11 a.m. at Long Reach High School
      • Available to any family that is unable to attend their regional session
    • Tuesday, July 16, 7-9 p.m. at Atholton High School
      • Families currently zoned for Atholton HS, Hammond HS, Long Reach HS, Wilde Lake HS
    • Thursday, July 18, 7-9 p.m. at River Hill High School
      • Families currently zoned for Glenelg HS, Marriotts Ridge HS, Reservoir HS, River Hill HS

*Outside of these opportunities we will not be scheduling special town halls and meetings specific to a geographic or planning area.

  • Stakeholders who lack access to technology and are unable attend an input session may mail feedback to the School Planning Office, 9020 Mendenhall Ct., Columbia MD 21045. Print copies of the online feedback form will be provided in limited quantities to school offices.

Board of Education Public Input Opportunities

  • Board public hearings:
    • Tuesday, September 17, 7 p.m.
    • Tuesday, September 24, 7 p.m.
    • Thursday, September 26, 7 p.m.

Full information and updates, including a schedule and answers to frequently asked questions, will be available on the HCPSS website. We will also provide regular updates via our weekly HCPSS News emails and social media accounts. Additionally, we would like to receive your questions related specifically to the way the boundary review process is being conducted and communication and engagement efforts.

Language supports will be available upon request for any stakeholder. This letter will be provided to school administrators, community liaisons and the International Student and Family Services office to share with families who may lack Internet access.

A successful outcome for this process depends directly on the level of respect, empathy and careful listening that we as adults model for our children. We must remember that they will follow our lead in responding positively to the challenges and changes that are inevitable throughout life. I ask our community to practice civility during what can be an emotional process.

Every child in Howard County public schools will continue to have access to an excellent education. HCPSS is not a system of individual schools, but a cohesive school system with consistent curriculum, excellent teachers, and comparable opportunities at every school.


Michael J. Martirano