Crowded classrooms with more growth expected a reason that shows Harford County Schools have a growing problem.
On Wednesday Joe Licata, Chief of Administration for Harford County Public Schools released the following statement to WMAR:
"Based on our September 30th 2017 official enrollment and projections, both Emmorton and Magnolia elementary schools will be in moratorium for residential development based on the requirements of the Harford County Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance. This Ordinance, which has been in place since 1992, has served the county well as a growth management tool. The “threshold” for moratorium has been revised several times since the inception of the ordinance, and has been 110% for the past several years.
With respect to Homestead/Wakefield elementary school, it had not yet reached the threshold in September 2017 even though its enrollment may exceed the threshold today. When the test is applied again in September, and if the school enrollment exceeds or is projected to exceed its capacity by 110% or more, it will be placed in moratorium per the requirements of the ordinance.”
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Amy Jahnigen, a mother of three boys at Homestead-Wakefield Elementary School, is hoping to draw attention to the problems overcrowding is causing.
Harford County Schools has a chart showing that Homestead Wakefield was at 107% capacity at the beginning of the year. With a prediction that the school will be at 111 percent capacity in 2022.
Jahnigen looked at the numbers and says the school is passed that number right now.
“I understand that you can’t recalculate every single day that would drive you crazy, but my suggestion is at least twice a year,” said Jahnigan
Jahnigen’s 4th-grade son Noah, said that the overcrowded classrooms can make it difficult to learn.
“There’s so many people and the teacher can’t have one on one time with you or anything to help you learn like if you don’t understand something,” said Noah. She just kind of has to move along.”
Jahnigen is running for Harford County Council largely because of the issues she’s seeing at her children’s school and the potential for developers to keep building, specifically a project that would add 124 new homes.
"It is zoned to the school district and I have big concerns for one we have some traffic issues,” said Jahnigen. “We need to focus on the schools, the school overcrowding because that’s appealing to young families with children.”
She thinks her school district should be put in a moratorium like Emmorton and Magnolia that also have overpopulation.
That means developers can’t build any more homes because there are not enough resources to meet the educational needs.
“If you’re going to redistrict because a developer came in and built a neighborhood in an overcrowded zone that’s not really fair to the people that already bought there,” said Jahnigen. "Their kids are going to be uprooted and they're not going to be with their friends and they're going to lose their little circle if they get redistricted.”
Sara Baker has a special needs kindergarten student at Homestead-Wakefield Elementary.
She said with teachers already strapped for resources, she’s scared what the future will look like if the problem continues to get worse. And another parent who’s already fighting for resources for her special needs kindergartner is scared what the future will look like if the problem continues to get worse.