Below is a copy of my letter to the Harford County Board of Education
regarding school redistricting:
Dear Board Members:
It has come to my attention that the Board of Education has once again begun the difficult process of redistricting to balance attendance in our public schools. While the redistricting process is an essential part of Harford County’s public education system, I request that you act with caution and not allow that process to move in the direction of an efficiency exercise of placing bodies behind desks at the least cost.
I am proud that our Boards, principals, staff, and PTAs have for many years worked diligently to encourage parental, family, and even whole neighborhood involvement in our Harford communities’ schools. The benefits of that approach are obvious. Harford citizen’s support for the schools goes well beyond the immediate students and their parents. Every community is invested in its schools as volunteers, taxpayers, donors, parents, and so many other ways. It is vital that the redistricting process not undermine that support and the high quality of education it promotes.
As the Board undertakes this current round of redistricting, I ask that you please make every effort to support the continuation of community schools and minimize education disruption. Moving children from one district to another should be done as a last resort and only when absolutely necessary, not in response to temporary fluctuations, to streamline school boundaries, or to shave a couple of miles off of bus routes. Whenever possible, students and their siblings should be allowed to attend and complete their education in the schools in which they and their families have already invested their time and talents. Each school should remain part of an established community so that parents can choose housing near elementary, middle, and high schools that afford families the greatest opportunities to attend and participate in school activities and support community schools.
The outcome of a well-managed redistricting process ought not to be a streamlines school district map but the creation of school communities that maximize the ability of faculty, staff, and parents to educate children. Moving a similar number of students between two schools simply to streamline a map is disruptive to the goal of supporting community schools where students can thrive.
Thank you for your hard work and you attention to these important matters. Please do not hesitate to call upon me if I can be of any assistance.
Very truly yours,
Senator Bob Cassilly