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Boundary Study Changes

Current Boundary Studies

Effective August 2020

Recently Adopted Boundary Studies

Effective August 2020

Effective August 2019

Effective August 2018

School Boundary Study Review Process

The boundary change process is intended to be as supportive as possible of students, families, staff, and the greater community. The process is guided by Board of Education Policy and Superintendent’s Rule 1280. Below are some frequently asked questions about boundary changes in BCPS that we hope will increase community understanding and support of this important function.

  • When does BCPS consider boundary changes?
    • When construction of a new school or addition to an existing school adds student capacity to a region to help resolve overcrowding.
    • When school closures or consolidations are deemed appropriate (See Policy/Rule 1290).
    • When enrollments can be balanced among a group of schools to resolve overcrowding without new construction.
    • To help create continuity for students by improving the alignment of elementary, middle, and high school boundary areas.
    • To help support access to academic and instructional opportunities across the system.

  • Does BCPS redistrict frequently?

    We recognize that boundary changes can be disruptive to students and concerning to families; therefore, we engage in the process only when it is evident that a boundary change may help support one or more of the considerations noted above.  We are also guided by the principle that, to every extent possible, a child will not experience a boundary change more than once while attending any one BCPS school.
  • How are new boundaries determined and how long does the process take?

    The boundary change process has four phases and takes approximately one year to complete.  BCPS Boundary studies may be conducted in either the spring or fall and are typically completed at least four months prior to going into effect:
Phase Duration Description
Planning 2-3 months A steering committee of principals, staff specialists, and community superintendents carefully assess the considerations that have triggered the need for a boundary change and identify key outcomes, timelines, and potentially affected schools.
Study 3-5 months A committee, co-chaired by a community superintendent(s) and with representatives from each potentially affected school, meets regularly, reviews detailed maps, examines student enrollment data and other information, and presents a range of options to the greater community for consideration and input.
Decision 2-3 months The superintendent presents the committee’s recommendation to the Board of Education.  The Board holds a public hearing to gather input and then votes to adopt a new boundary.  BCPS school boundaries cannot change without Board approval.
Implementation 3-5 months After the adoption of a new boundary by the Board, the steering committee plans and implements effective communications with all affected community members to ensure a smooth implementation of the new boundary.

  • How will I know if my school is involved in a boundary change process?

    Typically, principals will let their communities know that their schools will be involved and represented in a boundary study process at the start of the boundary change planning process and about three to five months prior to the convening of the boundary study committee.

  • Who serves on the boundary study committee and what does the role entail?

    The boundary study committee is appointed by the Superintendent with input and recommendations from community superintendents and school principals. The committee consists of equal representation from all involved schools and may include parents, teachers, and other community stakeholders. Principals serve as nonvoting members and provide information to support the process.

    Committee members are asked to be as open as possible and to resist representing their personal interests and instead focus on the interests of all children that will be affected by the boundary process. Members commit to attend typically between four and seven meetings and spend time both in and outside of meetings carefully considering information and providing relevant insight into neighborhood considerations. They also attend the community public information session to help explain the committee’s work and engage in conversations about boundary change considerations.

  • How may I get involved in the boundary study process?

    BCPS offers many ways to get information and engage in the process:

    • Let your PTSA president or principal know that you are interested in serving on the committee—schools may not be able to accommodate all requests. Volunteers should commit to the time required and to serve the interests of all involved schools. 
    • Visit the BCPS Web site regularly to view all information that is provided to the committee and other updates regarding the process.
    • Watch boundary study committee meetings live online – as they happen or recorded for later viewing.
    • Attend boundary study committee meetings – meetings are open to the public; however, participation is limited to committee members.
    • Attend the public information session to review in detail the committee’s draft recommendations and engage in conversation with staff and committee members about boundary change considerations.
    • Participate in the online survey to provide input and comments on the committee’s draft recommendations.
    • Email comments and suggestions to the boundary study committee. An email address can be found on the boundary study website. All email comments received are public record and are logged and posted to the website, including your name but not your email address. Please avoid including personal information (e.g. phone numbers, student names, etc.).
    • Attend Board meetings and participate in general public comment and/or write to the Board.
    • Attend the Board’s public hearing specific to the boundary change decision under consideration.

  • What do members of the boundary study committee consider as they develop a recommendation?

    To develop a recommendation that is implementable, effective, and successful, the boundary study committee may consider:

    Primary Considerations

    • Efficient use of capacity in affected schools.
    • Maintaining or increasing the diversity among schools to reflect the diversity of the region and the school system.

    Secondary Considerations

      • Maintaining the continuity of neighborhoods.
      • The impact of transportation and pedestrian patterns on students.
      • Minimizing the number of times any individual student is assigned to another school.
      • Long-term enrollment and capacity trends and future capital plans.
      • Location of feeder school boundaries and continuity of feeder patters.
      • Elimination of existing satellite boundaries (attendance areas of schools that are not connected to the main boundary).
      • Phasing in boundary changes by grade level for high schools.

    Other Considerations

      • Natural boundaries such as reservoirs and rivers and major infrastructure barriers such as railroad tracks and highways.
      • Other considerations that may be specific to the goals of a particular boundary change.

  • Is there any provision that would allow my child to stay at our current school after a new boundary goes into effect?

    BCPS does not typically exempt addresses from a boundary change process.  If a child will be a fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, eleventh, or twelfth grader when a new boundary is implemented, students are permitted to stay at their current school under the special permission transfer provision and process.  Please note that transportation is not provided. (See BCPS Policy/Rule 5140)

 

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Darryl L. Williams, Ed.D.
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Team BCPS Newsletter
Baltimore County Public Schools
6901 Charles Street
Towson, Maryland 21204
443-809-4554

Report Fraud, Waste, or Abuse

Darryl L. Williams, Ed.D.
Superintendent

E-mail Dr. Williams

Follow @BCPS_Sup

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©2019 Baltimore County Public Schools. All rights reserved.