To optimize school capacities significantly, the Board of Education has greenlighted Superintendent Dr. Mark Bedell’s Phase 1 redistricting plan. This strategic initiative redraws boundaries for 48 schools, ensuring all institutions in the county’s six northernmost clusters operate below 100 percent capacity. The affected clusters include Chesapeake, Glen Burnie, Meade, North County, Northeast, and Old Mill.

The decision, reached during the Board’s November 15, 2023, meeting, marks a pivotal step in managing school enrollments and resources efficiently. Additionally, it sets the stage for the opening of Old Mill West High School and West County Elementary School in the next academic year, with newly established attendance zones.

One notable aspect of the plan is the introduction of “legacy students.” This designation applies to students who will be entering 12th grade next year and are impacted by the redistricting. These students can remain at their current school, honoring their connection and history with the institution. A process for students and their families to confirm this choice is slated to start later this month, providing a personalized approach to the transition.

The Board has facilitated an online platform for community members seeking clarity on the new boundaries. This resource allows users to enter an address and instantly view the designated schools for that location, bringing transparency and ease to understanding the redistricting’s impact.

The implementation of these new boundaries is scheduled for August 2024, marking a significant shift in the educational landscape of the area. Furthermore, the Board has outlined the commencement of Phase 2 of the redistricting process in February 2025. This next phase will focus on additional clusters, including Annapolis, Arundel, Broadneck, Crofton, Severna Park, South River, and Southern, indicating a comprehensive approach to managing school capacities across the county.

In tandem with the redistricting, the Board is also initiating a naming process for the two new schools, Old Mill West High School and West County Elementary School. Adhering to Board Policy EG and Administrative Regulation EG-RA, the finalization of naming committees is underway. The community is invited to participate by submitting naming suggestions for these institutions. The policy and regulations guide this process, ensuring a thoughtful and appropriate selection of names that reflect the values and identity of the schools and their communities.

This redistricting plan represents a proactive approach by the Board of Education to address the evolving educational needs of the county. By balancing enrollments and ensuring optimal use of resources, the plan aims to enhance the quality of education and the overall experience for students, staff, and the wider community.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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