Harford redistricting plan would shift several hundred

Baltimore & Region


Several hundred high school students in Harford County's dense central core would change schools, starting in 2007, under a plan presented to the school board last night, aimed at easing crowding and filling a new school.

As expected, the preliminary proposal redraws boundary lines most significantly around Bel Air, where the new Patterson Mill middle and high school complex is expected to open for the start of the 2007-2008 school year.

The area from which Bel Air High School draws its students would be sliced in half and extended north to Route 23. Students from the other half, which is mostly east of Route 24, would attend Patterson Mill.

The move would have a "domino" effect on surrounding districts, said Joseph P. Licata, assistant superintendent for operations, who outlined the proposal.

"Our final rendition is the rendition that gives us the least amount of moves to fill the school at Patterson Mill," Licata told the board as more than 100 watched at Aberdeen High School.

While losing part of its current attendance area, Bel Air High would receive hundreds of students from Fallston and C. Milton Wright high schools, and Wright would see its boundary drawn in tighter from the northwest. The changes would be staged by grades over a period extending to the 2009-2010 school year.

Statistics showed that the moves, coupled with planned expansions of three high schools, would put most county high schools below 92 percent capacity through 2009. Seven of the county's nine high schools are at or above 100 percent capacity now.

The plan would also bring numerous changes in the feeder system from elementary to middle schools.

School system officials plan to meet with parents over the next two months to discuss redistricting specifics, and the board will hold hearings in March leading to a vote in April.

"We want to stress this is a process, starting tonight," Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas told the audience.


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