Subscribe
The Chatter

Baltimore County Redistricts Schools in Middle River Area

BCPS board voted 8-4 to reclassify overcrowding in eight schools.

By Michelle Harris | June 14, 2017, 12:21 pm

-Orems Elementary School
The Chatter

Baltimore County Redistricts Schools in Middle River Area

BCPS board voted 8-4 to reclassify overcrowding in eight schools.

By Michelle Harris | June 14, 2017, 12:21 pm

-Orems Elementary School

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

On Tuesday, June 13, the Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) board voted on a plan to redistrict eight elementary schools in an effort to better integrate and relieve overcrowding on the east side of the county. 

The schools in question—Glenmar, Hawthorne, Martin Boulevard, Middlesex, Orems, Shady Spring, Victory Villa, and Vincent Farm elementary schools—vary in minority population as well as student enrollment with some falling over and under capacity. 

“You don’t really think about segregation in schools in 2017,” said Marisol Johnson, vice chair of the Board of Education for BCPS. “But need to make an effort to integrate them and make them more diverse.”

Based on 2016 student enrollment, four of the eight schools exceeded 115-percent capacity with Shady Spring severely overcrowded at 130-percent capacity.


⇓ Article continues below ⇓

After four months of planning, seven meetings, and 14 possible scenarios, the community study board for Victory Villa ultimately presented “plan D1” to the board of education for consideration. In this plan, a handful of students from Orems, a school with a low minority population, would be sent to Middlesex, and 25 students from Shady Spring would go to Orems. But after hearing the details of the proposed plan, BCPS board of education member Stephen Virch proposed an amendment to consider before voting.

“This is a very serious matter,” he said. “This spans two districts, and we really have to consider all parts.”

Virch explained that principal Kenneth Dunaway of Shady Spring—a school with high minority population—expressed some concern about the Latino students in his school possibly being split up and transferred to different schools if the district boundary lines are redrawn through the community.

“The principal suggests that whatever the committee does, keep the planning blocks with the Latino students together,” Virch relayed.

School principals couldn’t be reached for comment because they are not speaking with the media, according to BCPS.

The school system’s chief accountability officer Dr. Russell Brown suggests that an objective solution is possible if residents in the districts are willing to compromise. A number of parents of Orems believed that the students from other schools would negatively influence their children, decrease property values, and disrupt the close-knit community for the sake of diversity. Parents at surrounding schools believe the opposition stems from possible minority influx.

Under the new redistricting boundaries, Orems minority population would increase significantly from 28 percent to 40 percent.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to balance enrollment in the region,” Brown said. “It requires people to change, it requires that people go to different schools.”

In the end, the board voted to keep all current students at Orems Elementary but will move 94 students from Shady Spring to Orems, effective at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. The newly reconstructed and enlarged Victory Villa Elementary set to open in 2018 and will add 409 seats.

According to Johnson, the Perry Hall area is next up for a similar redistricting plan. Perry Hall Middle School will undergo reconstruction next year and the board will be challenged with creating new boundary lines between the newly constructed middle school and Golden Ring Middle.

“I’m interested to see how this one plays out,” Johnson said. “I’m happy with making our schools more diverse—we need to spread the children around.”




Meet The Author

Michelle Harris is the digital content producer for Baltimore, where she covers news, community, sports, and beauty.



You May Also Like


The Chatter

UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski Tells World "Our Students Have Already Won"

The Retrievers' tournament story may have been short, but It was unforgettable.

The Chatter

Labs@Light City Highlight a Pay-What-You-Can Model This Year

The discussions feature youth workshops and a new “maker” track.

Arts & Culture

In The Clutch

Through art and activism, former NFL player Aaron Maybin tackles some of the city’s biggest injustices.

The Chatter

New Youth-Led Programming Coming to CharmTV

The Avenue will debut on April 21 and feature students discussing topics relevant to Baltimore.

Education & Family

My Daily Routine With Two Kids Under 3 Years Old

Which also conveniently helps explain to my editor why this piece is two months overdue.

Food & Drink

Oh, Brother!

Local restauranteurs keep it all in the family.

Connect With Us

Most Read


New Reginald F. Lewis Museum Exhibit Features MICA Artists of Color: Exhibit highlights diversity at renowned art school.

Open & Shut: Sacré Sucré Coming Soon; The Emporiyum Takes a Break; In Bloom Closes: The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

La Calle Bringing Modern Mexican Food Downtown This Summer: Globally influenced cantina set to open inside 10 South Street building near City Hall.

New Youth-Led Programming Coming to CharmTV: The Avenue will debut on April 21 and feature students discussing topics relevant to Baltimore.

The Land of Kush Owners Win Grant to Make Restaurant Cashless : Husband-and-wife team win $10,000 from Visa to help launch strictly digital sale system.