BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — Harford County Schools proposed redistricting plans has many parents feeling frustrated and concerned. At a demonstration outside school headquarters on Monday night, parents said the pandemic has already upset student learning, and potentially having to change schools, only adds to the disruption.

“They’re just going to get everything back to normal and then move them again,” said Suzanne Mace, a Harford County parent with 3 students potentially impacted by the redistricting proposal. [It’s] not a great thing for the kids – scholastically, educationally, as well as emotionally, and we’re already having emotional crises with the teenagers after the pandemic,” Mace added.

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“We want people to reconsider this decision,” said Raj Bhat. His daughter was accepted into a specialized 4-year biomedical program at her current Bel Air High School, an opportunity she may have to give up if she’s moved elsewhere. “It would be a big hassle for my family,” said Bhat.

Parents said the proposed changes could impact friendships, student achievement and add long commute times. Dozens of parents spoke before the Board of Education who will ultimately make the final decision, during a public comment period Monday.

Harford County Schools said the reason for the changes is to address overcrowding in some schools and underutilization in others. One board member reassured the group that nothing is final yet on Monday.

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“There is still a lot of work to be done, which we know. There are still changes to be made and things to be worked out. This is only the first iteration,” the board member said.

A spokesperson for the school district said it’s hard to say exactly how many students will be impacted because it’s an ongoing discussion. She added that a change in a student’s elementary school assignment does not automatically change their middle or high school assignment.

The Harford County Superintendent is expected to provide his recommendation in July. The Board of education is expected to conduct a final vote in February with the changes implemented for the 2022-2023 school year.

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Editor’s Note: The timeline for the balancing enrollment process has been corrected. 

Rachel Menitoff