Stop the MHS13 Re-Zoning Plan
Stop the MHS13 Re-Zoning Plan
Harford County Public Schools are currently undertaking a Balancing Enrollment initiative aimed at creating equal enrollment across all public schools in the county. The need to re-zone boundaries for all the schools is due, in part, to the over crowding of schools in the Bel Air area. Several small neighborhoods in our area, Morning Brook Farm, Steeplechase Manor and Hunt Fields, will be affected by this re-zoning. Our current schools, Fallston Middle and Fallston High, are not currently overcrowded or even at capacity. However, specifically due to an influx of students being moved out of Bel Air secondary schools and into our schools, the Balancing Enrollment team has suggested to move our small neighborhoods to the North Harford zone. The new proposed schools would be North Harford Middle and North Harford High. The parents and students of our small neighborhoods believe this move is unreasonable. Below are reasons we feel this re-zoning of all our schools is not in the best interest of our children.
Loss of Community
A major concern with this proposed change is the loss of community that would come by taking our children out of their local schools. One of the Guiding Principles for this Balancing Enrollment process states, "To maintain neighborhood schools that optimize proximity to home...". This goal will not be met, as none of the proposed schools for our neighborhood are closer to home or even located within our community. We may have a Forest Hill zip code, but we have long associated ourselves with the Fallston community.
Many of our families play sports at the Fallston Rec. Council, attend Church and preschool in Fallston, enjoy summers at the Fallston Club, utilize the Fallston Library, support local restaurants and the Fallston Volunteer Fire Dept., and are highly involved with the Fallston PTA and Booster Club. The children and families here have made friends and connections that would be impossible to replicate in the North Harford area. It is simply not our community! Why would we drive farther to North Harford area for these activities, when we have them closer to home? Our children will miss out on the school and community connection that they have currently if moved to North Harford schools.
Another reason we identify with the Fallston community is that we vote in Fallston. Our neighborhood is located in Harford County’s District B, which is primarily the Fallston area. The elected officials in this District would handle issues and/or concerns that affect the Fallston area, including schools. Changing our children to schools all located in another district, District D, means parents would no longer be able to vote for officials, including school board representatives, in the area their children attend school.
Too Far From Home
While all would agree the proposed schools are good schools, we believe they are not the right schools for the children in our neighborhood to attend for the simple reason that they are just too far away. North Harford secondary schools are 11 miles away! By comparison, Fallston High is approximately 6.3 miles away and is about a 10-minute car ride, while North Harford is about a 20-minute car ride. It does not make sense to send our children to schools so far away, especially when their current schools are located closer to us and are not overcrowded.
One of the biggest concerns with the distance of these proposed schools is the very likely possibility of an unreasonably long bus ride. Another goal of the Balancing Enrollment team’s Guiding Principles is to keep bus rides at 45 minutes or less. We believe this goal would be hard to achieve given the locations of these schools.
Many people move to our community for Fallston secondary schools and for our convenient location. Parents work in areas south of our schools, such as APG in Edgewood, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore City, etc. Fallston Middle and High are a convenient location for working parents who need to drop off or pick up their children. The dividing line that has cut our small neighborhoods out of the Fallston Middle and High district will have our children riding on buses past other students who they currently attend school with who are NOT being moved to North Harford but in fact live closer to those schools.
Keep Our Kids in Fallston Schools!
Excising such a small number of students and homes and leaving others, this late in the redistricting process, is harmful to the continuity of education for our students and the community that we have built for our families. While we understand the need to relieve overcrowded schools in the central areas of the county, moving our neighborhood children to schools far from home and outside their community is unfair and unreasonable. Please consider signing this petition to stop the re-zoning of the Morning Brook Farm, Steeplechase Manor and Hunt Fields Communities.