A Little Trip Down Memory Lane

By | December 9, 2015

So many people are calling to slow down the process and bring in more outside people. Most don’t know that it was tried before and failed miserably. The recommendations of the Long Range Planning Committee failed, despite over six months of work by parents, staff and business people.

The process started off to great fanfare in August 1999.

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But seven months later, it was deemed a disaster.

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Is anything different this time? Would parents be any more accepting of a school closure because there were parents, county employees and business people were on the committee? We think not.

However, as we’ve said before, we would have liked to see the Community Advisory Council more involved in the process. The CAC is a committee of representatives from each school appointed by the school’s principal. It could be a parent, staff or in some cases even the principal. The latter two often occur when an interested parent cannot be found to serve, something that happens way too often. The Boundary Adjustment Committee presented Options 1 and 2 to the CAC in September and the superintendent’s final recommendation in November. These meetings were open to the public, but very few attended.

We would have liked to have seen the committee members’ comments and the BAC committee’s responses formally recorded. Options 3, 4 and 5 should have been presented and comments taken even if it required a special meeting. Perhaps there should have been a vote and/or a statement from the committee. We think the opportunity for a two way conversation was there, but wasn’t taken.


Images from Carroll County Times Archive

One thought on “A Little Trip Down Memory Lane

  1. Elizabeth

    Though I wasn’t a Carroll County resident at the time of the previous process, it does indeed sound like it was unsuccessful. However, to do the opposite–shut out public input completely–is not the solution either. They should have looked to national best practices for guidance on how to improve the public input process. There is a “school closure guide” available online that was prepared by several school districts who learned how to engage the community in a productive discussion.
    Not only was attendance by the CAC spotty this year, but the decisions by the Central Office regarding school closures were made exclusively to shut out CAC participation. The May 2015 CAC meeting makes no mention of closures except potentially Charles Carroll. The next time the CAC met was after the Superintendent had already put together a plan to close schools. So, no input from the CAC.
    Another way to look at this is to see who was appointed to serve on the CAC. In the case of New Windsor Middle School, the appointee was the former principal, who had by then received a transfer to Oklahoma Road Middle School (a “safe” school, I might remind you). He would have no incentive to keep New Windsor open, as there were some definite rifts between him and the community at large. The current NWMS appointee teaches at Oklahoma Road Middle School, which is also questionable. It’s true that she has a child at New Windsor, but she can easily transfer her child to the school where she works. She is relatively new to the CAC, so I don’t know if she has even attended a meeting yet.
    To top it off, neither the BAC nor the school board has representation from anyone from the northwest quadrant of the County. New Windsor, Union Bridge and surrounding area residents have been repeatedly disadvantaged by school board decisions in which we have had no say and no representation. It has to stop.


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