Craig expresses views on Patterson Mill complex in letter

April 02, 2006

The school board will vote tomorrow night on a phasing and grandfathering plan for the new Patterson Mill middle and high school complex, as well as recommendations for countywide redistricting for the purpose of balancing enrollment. Below is a letter sent from Harford County Executive David R. Craig to school board President Ruth R. Rich on March 17:

Dear President Rich:

As you are aware, every two weeks I meet with Superintendent Haas to discuss issues related to public schools in Harford County. Major items for discussion have included Patterson Mill, the construction of replacement high schools, and districting. At our most recent meeting earlier this week, Dr. Haas shared several of the plans which have been presented to the board.

In the fall the Board gave the Superintendents Technical Advisory Committee two charges. While it was laudable to attempt to ask and answer questions about system-wide redistricting, I believe that it would be more prudent at this time to concentrate on the first charge, namely that of setting the boundaries of Patterson Mill Middle/High School.

Jay May [chief administrative officer for Harford schools] recently shared with me seven different scenarios which are currently being discussed. I support the fourth one "minimal Redistricting with New Schools and Addition Built." The two key components are setting the boundaries of Patterson Mill and holding off on the vast majority of redistricting particularly sending new students to BAHS [Bel Air High School].

It would appear by doing this that the school population of BAHS would drop below 60%. This would leave the smallest possible population to be affected while construction of BAHS's replacement takes place plus it would allow for the tradition opening of a 6-10 middle/high school as was done in Joppatowne and Fallston many years ago.

Once BAHS and EHS [Edgewood High School] are opened in 2009 it would then be time to think about any other redistricting that could take place to fill Bel Air. I would appreciate meeting with any members of the Board to discuss this issue.

Cordially,

David R. Craig

Harford County Executive

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