tel: 410-477-2040          mail@forthoward.org

The inadequacies of Baltimore County Code 32-6-103  that permit additional school overcrowding were discussed at the October 16, 2019 Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) Board Legislative & Government Relations Committee meeting. The following letter addresses that meeting.

October 17, 2019

Baltimore County Executive

Baltimore County Council

BCPS Board

400 Chesapeake Avenue

Towson, Maryland 21204

                Re: Baltimore County Code 32-6-103 Overcrowded School Districts

Dear County Councilman and Executive:

At the October 16, 2019 Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) Board Legislative
& Government Relations Committee meeting the inadequacies of Baltimore
County Code 32-6-103-Overcrowded School Districts that permit additional school
overcrowding were discussed.  Baltimore County Code 32-6-103 states,

 (e ) Development approval not granted. Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, development approval may not be granted:

  • In existing overcrowded school districts; or

  • If the Development Plan is projected to generate additional school population that would result in the school district becoming an overcrowded school district.

And

(f) Exception. Development approval may be granted in overcrowded school districts:

(1) For the redevelopment of residential property for single-family dwellings or multifamily housing that does not increase the number of dwelling units from the prior development;

(2) If the capital budget contains a capital project that has appropriations or authorizations sufficient
to fund the construction of a new school, a school addition, or a renovation
which would result in the district not being an overcrowded school district;

(3) If any school in a district adjacent to the overcrowded school district
has sufficient capacity to render the overcrowded school less than 115% of the state-rated capacity; or

(4) If the Board of Education has approved a plan that implements, within one school year, educationally sound programs or initiatives that will provide adequate capacity in an overcrowded school district, including:

(i) Grade realignments or reassignments;

(ii)Schedule changes;

(iii)Magnet schools;

(iv)Special program locations;

(v)Work-study programs;

(vi)Early graduation; or

(vii)Any other program or initiative that will effectively reduce enrollment in the school district to less than 115% of the state-rated capacity.

The BCPS Board Legislative & Government Relations Committee identified Baltimore County Code (f) (3) as problematic having far reaching implications regarding BCPS’s ability to strategically plan for the school system and to proactively predict and accommodate BCPS needs.

BCPS Board Legislative & Government Relations Committee Members concluded the following summarized recommendation are in order,

  1. That the Board evaluate any adverse impact(s) Baltimore County Code 32-6-103 (f) (3) is having on the Baltimore County School System
  2. That once any adverse impact(s) are evaluated, BCPS Board Legislative & Government Relations Committee deliberate on options addressing those adverse impact(s) and/or produce a position statement  
  3. Generate a report what development(s) have led to redistricting and/or overcrowding in BCPS And that BCPS Board
  4. Legislative & Government Relations Committee Staff Liaison Mr. Baysmore expand his role to include the Baltimore County Council and Executive

An example of how Baltimore County Code 32-6-103 (f) (3) operates detrimentally is the current overcrowding at Sparrows Point High School.

Sparrows Point High School current enrollment 1075 students at 123.4% of its State Rate Capacity 871.  However, Administrative Judge Stahl repeatedly stated at the Sparrows Point Country Club hearing Baltimore County Code 32-6-103 (f) (3) “ties his hands,” by statute and he must judge by that current law.  Essentially, a legal travesty of adjudication by “loophole.”

Given Baltimore County Code 32-6-103 (f) (3) statutorily gelds the Office of Administrative Hearing, the only recourse students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers have stopping school overcrowding is amending Baltimore County Code 32-6-103 (f) (3) legislatively.

The icons of the great lawgivers of history in the County Council Chamber remind us, “Law was designed not to protect the status quo but to provide orderly change and growth.”

It is your duty as lawgivers of Baltimore County, as it would have been the duty of the lawgivers who watch over the Council, to change law that harms the people it was created to serve: in this case Baltimore County Code 32-6-103 (f) (3). And no less equally, the duty of citizens of a democratic government is to advise the elect legislation.  

Therefore, be advised, on behalf of all students, parents, teachers, administrators, and Baltimore County taxpayers, it is requested the Baltimore County Council and Executive provide immediate school overcrowding relief by suspending all development applications in Baltimore County that will increase school overcrowding, such as Sparrows Point Country Club Estates, until adequate public policy, with consultation of the BCPS Board and the people of Baltimore County, is legislated.

Baltimore County students, teachers, administrators, and taxpayers cannot, and will not, endure this egregious injustice at the hands of Baltimore County Code 32-6-103 (f) (3).

Please call 443 242 7528 or email mail@forthoward.org should you have any questions or concerns. The constituency anticipates your response.

Most respectfully yours,

Scott Pappas

President, FHCA

       

Attachments: BCPS  Video

                          Letter in PDF format

To hear Baltimore County Code 32-6-103 (f) (3) discussion start at 1:13:19 in the video.

   ” It’s our school system, let’s take care of it.”

Categories: General

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