HCPSS plans on redistricting 9000 students in an effort to use school capacity in the west and relieve overcrowding in the east. The proposal will bring nearly all schools to 100% capacity. Families and students are willing to make the sacrifices required of them to be reassigned to different schools if we know that the county is taking the right steps to plan for an expanding school population. But the County Executive’s two proposed bills regarding APFO (CB 61 and 62), the county’s tool for managing growth, DO NOT protect our schools from overcrowding. These two bills (and the concurrent redistricting) enable more development in school districts that are currently closed to new construction because of capacity issues. We need a strong APFO that puts schools first.
Here is my testimony at the July county council legislative hearing on school capacity and what is needed to protect the school success and quality of life in the county. A strong APFO should have the following:
- reduce school capacity thresholds to 100%
- assign high schools the same school capacity threshold as elementary and middle schools
- increase mitigation requirements to match neighboring counties, such as Montgomery, PG and Anne Arundel
- eliminate wait-time exemptions closed school districts.