Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Bedell today presented a recommendation for the first phase of the school system’s comprehensive redistricting process that would redraw school boundaries at 48 schools, establish boundaries at two new schools, and move all schools in the county’s six northernmost clusters under 100 percent capacity.
NOTE: The event below, Arts Alive 25, was held on September 8, 2023.
The recommendation centers on creating boundaries for Old Mill West High School and West County Elementary School while balancing enrollment across the Chesapeake, Glen Burnie, Meade, North County, Northeast, and Old Mill clusters. It comes after work by consultant WXY and Anne Arundel County Public Schools to examine enrollment patterns across the 58 schools in the clusters that have been undertaken since early this year.
Dr. Bedell utilized that work along with more than 2,700 comments left by more than 33,000 unique visitors to the school system’s redistricting website, www.aacps.org/redistricting, as he finalized the recommendation presented to the Board today. If adopted, that recommendation would leave 15 schools in the northern part of the county at or above 90 percent capacity. Without any redistricting, 26 schools would reach that mark, with seven operating between 100 percent and 110 percent of capacity and six others operating at more than 110 percent of capacity.
“This has been an enormous amount of work on the part of a lot of people and I am grateful for their efforts to get us to this point,” Dr. Bedell said. “We have promised that this would be a transparent process with many avenues for public input, and the input we have received so far has played a significant part in the crafting of this recommendation. Throughout this part of the process, we put students first in all decisions we have made.”
Dr. Bedell’s recommendation makes a number of changes from the second of two potential scenarios developed by WXY and posted online in February 2023. His recommendation to the Board and other related documents are posted online at www.aacps.org/redistricting. A portal on that page will allow public comments to be submitted through August 16, 2023.
Key parts of Dr. Bedell’s recommendation include:
- a change of schools at some point in the educational process for approximately 6,400 students (fewer than in either of the consultant-developed scenarios).
- an increase in the number of “well-utilized” and “optimally utilized” schools (between 70 percent and 100 percent of capacity) from 41 to 54.
- a decrease in the number of “over-utilized” schools (greater than 100 percent of capacity) from 13 to zero.
- changes in middle school and/or high school feeder patterns for 16 schools.
- two split articulations as students move from elementary school through high school: MacArthur Middle School students living in the Frank Hebron-Harman Elementary School and Van Bokkelen Elementary School boundary areas would attend Old Mill West High School rather than Meade High School; and Corkran Middle School students living in the Oakwood Elementary School and Woodside Elementary School boundaries would attend Old Mill High School rather than Glen Burnie High School.
- in response to feedback from the public, Freetown Elementary School students would continue to attend Marley Middle School and Glen Burnie High School.
- a “legacy student” provision that would provide a choice for any 12th-grade student who would otherwise be changing schools as a result of redistricting to remain at the student’s current school for their senior year of high school. Transportation would not be provided for such students.
- continuation of enrollment and transportation services for magnet program students.
- a need for just four additional buses (inclusive of the opening of Old Mill West High School and West County Elementary School) when a plan is implemented in the 2024-2025 school year.
- no additional buses on Mountain Road in Pasadena, consistent with a study done for Anne Arundel County and the State Highway Administration that indicates concerns about safety and vehicular load.
- the examination, pending approval of the recommendation by the Board, of utilizing empty space at Chesapeake Bay Middle School for adult offices and/or storage.
“There are few things in education more emotional for families than changing the schools their students attend,” Dr. Bedell said. “I understand that, but I also understand the crucial need to optimize the use of our school buildings. It is something we must do for the greater good of every student in our school system. This recommendation is the next step in this process. It is not the final decision, and I urge our families, students, staff, and all county residents to remain involved.”
Remaining steps in the process include:
- Wednesday, July 26, 2023: Board of Education workshop on Dr. Bedell’s recommendation in the Board Room of the Parham Building, located at 2644 Riva Road in Annapolis. The workshop will be streamed live at aacps.org/youtube. It will be open to the public, but no public comment will be taken.
- August 23, 2023: Board of Education to decide and vote on what proposal or proposals to take to public hearing. The Board can opt to utilize any or all of the plans presented to date, create one or more of its own, or both.
- September-October 2023: School system staff will conduct public briefings and the Board will conduct public hearings on the proposals moved forward by the Board at its August 23, 2023, meeting.
- November 15, 2023: Board adopts a Phase 1 redistricting plan.
- August 2024: Board-adopted Phase 1 redistricting plan goes into effect.
- February 2025: Phase 2 redistricting process – focusing on Annapolis, Arundel, Broadneck, Crofton, Severna Park, South River, and Southern clusters – begins.