Bevins on results of Victory Villa boundary study
- By Councilwoman Cathy Bevins (D-6) -
As part of the $1.3 billion Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) Schools for our Future initiative, a new 700 seat Victory Villa Elementary school is being constructed in Middle River and will be completed and open for the 2018-2019 school year. The goal of the Schools for our Future initiative is to address the issue of increasing enrollment at county schools and to improve existing facilitates.
Pursuant to the Board of Education of Baltimore County Policy 1280, BCPS conducts a boundary study whenever a new school is built. In January 2017, BCPS established a Boundary Study Committee to oversee the process of drawing boundaries for the new Victory Villa Elementary School. The 34 member committee was comprised of principals, teachers, and parents of the schools affected by the study. Those schools included; Victory Villa, Glenmar, Hawthorne, Martin Boulevard, Middlesex, Orems, Shady Spring and Vincent Farm Elementary Schools.
The Boundary Committee met several times over the past few months and my office and I monitored and attended those meetings. The Committee also made available an online comment section where parents could voice their thoughts and concerns.
After considering several boundary options the Committee voted to recommend Option D-1 to the School Board for approval. The Board voted to accept Option D-1 with two recommended amendments. The first amendment restores Planning Block 25 to the Orems Elementary School boundary. This amendment ensures that all current Orems Elementary School students remain at Orems. The second amendment restores Planning Block 38 to the Shady Spring Elementary School boundary.
I want to commend and express my gratitude to all of the stakeholders in this process for their dedication and commitment to the children of the Sixth District.
As a member of the Baltimore County Council, I have no authority over the policy decisions of the School Board or BCPS. The decision to draw and approve school boundary lines is left to the School Board. The County Council has the authority only to approve or reject the BCPS budget.
However, as your councilwoman, I advocate strongly on your behalf to the school board and other BCPS officials. In the last few years my vocal advocacy on behalf of Baltimore County’s Sixth District has resulted in air conditioning being installed at all schools and new schools are being built to meet the growing population of the county. During this process, I have listened to the concerns of parents, communities, and students and discussed those concerns with the school board and school officials.
Particularly, I have advocated that the boundary for the new Victory Villa School not disrupt community schools where a majority if not all the students walk to school. Breaking up these community schools is the wrong approach to take when drawing school boundaries. I am happy that after listening to the concerns of parents that the Board voted to keep the Orems community intact.
While I have limited authority over the school board, I do respect their transparency and the process. I will continue to advocate on behalf of the students of the Sixth District to ensure that they receive the best education possible.