To Your Immediate Attention
Dear neighbor, on November 21st the Howard County Board of Education (BOE) voted to change our elementary school from Clemens Crossing to Bryant Woods. Since not all neighbors are aware of the change, a group of parents directly impacted by the redistricting prepared this summary with the most salient points in terms of both the flawed process and the negative impact for the community.
- The school redistricting process started several months ago and other neighborhoods (polygons) had ample time to evaluate the changes, weigh in on the reasoning and have their voice heard. A decision to move our 3 polygons (132, 1132, and 2132) was made on November 12th – 6 days before the de-facto final vote thus depriving us of time to inquire about the rationale OR provide input. A violation of Howard County Policy 6010.
- For most of the students in our 3 polygons Clemens Crossing is approximately a mile away. In comparison, Bryant Woods is between 3 and 4 miles away depending on the bus route chosen. The logistical implications are threefold:
a. Increased commute time for students.
b. Inability to walk or bike to school – for many parents this is an opportunity to spend quality time with their kids, keep them active, and interact with other community members.
c. Worsen traffic congestion, increase pollution, and add an estimated $35K per year in transportation cost for just our 3 polygons.
- On the day of the final vote, the motion to move our three polygons to Bryant Woods Elementary School failed 4:3. Then in a blatant violation of the Open Meetings Act the Board Members were summoned for a recess behind closed doors for a few minutes. Upon resuming the public meeting, the Chair, Mrs. Ellis asked board members to vote again on the motion – on this second vote sobbing through tears Mrs. Coombs changed her vote from “No” to “Yes”. Clear violation of the Open Meetings Act aside, it is ironic that the people elected to care for students use recess to bully their peers (pun intended).
We will immediately appeal the BOE decision. In addition, we are exploring other venues to revert the injustice we were blindsided with – litigation, PR, political pressure.
If you are willing to support us in this effort either monetarily or through any other mean (connections with the media, political parties, etc.), please click here to fill out the contact form. Alternatively, you can contribute to our fund by click the Donate button at top.