MCPS to hire outside consultant to conduct school boundary study


Graphic by Alex Silber.

After the resolution was passed Jan. 8, the bid is set to be awarded this upcoming fall and the study—addressing student demographics, geography, overcrowding and limiting boundary changes—will be completed by the Spring of 2020.

By Anna Yuan

The Board of Education passed a resolution calling for an outside review of MCPS’ school boundaries Jan. 8. Student Member of the Board Ananya Tadikonda introduced the proposal, which focuses on addressing student demographics, geography, overcrowding and ensuring no school cluster experiences too many boundary changes in a span of 10 years.

Tadikonda proposed the study after finding that several high schools adjacent to one another have disproportionate class sizes and significant demographic disparities.

“That presents a really unique opportunity, because if you take some students from school X and district them into school Y, not only do you relieve overcrowding, but you also increase diversity at schools,” Tadikonda said.

The consultant’s report is due June 2020. Tadikonda originally proposed a June 2019 due date, but faced pushback from parents who voiced concerns that the study was too rushed.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Burning Tree parent Najiyah Khan said. “I know members of our community have expressed concern for any proposals that come forward, because some families will be taken out of the school system that they could have chosen to be in. We have to be cautious about what the next steps would be, who’s going to be engaged and what the intentions will be.”

While MCPS will study and re-evaluate school boundaries, they will not make any drastic changes—and will possibly make none at all—so parents need not worry about their kids being bussed across the county, Tadikonda said. Any changes in boundaries will only apply to adjacent schools.

Nate Tinbite, a SMOB candidate in this year’s election from Springbrook High School, supported the resolution at the meeting; he believes the study is overdue and will give MCPS a better understanding of their school boundaries.

“We just want to know how we’re using our boundaries and how we’re using our schools,” Tinbite said. “We want to know what we can do better, and now’s the time to do that, especially because the demographics of this county are insanely different than what they were 15-20 years ago.”