Thousands Must Change Schools, Anne Arundel Redraws School Districts


The Anne Arundel County Board of Education on Wednesday approved new redistricting maps. About 6,400 students will have to change schools. A sign outside the Anne Arundel County Public Schools headquarters is pictured above. (Jacob Baumgart/Patch)

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD - About 6,400 students will have to change schools after the Anne Arundel County Board of Education approved a new redistricting plan Wednesday evening. 

The plan takes effect in August 2024 and redraws school boundaries in the northern part of the county. Redistricting talks for South County will begin in February 2025. 

Seniors who were redistricted can choose to stay at their original school as legacy students. They will not get bus transportation, however, so they must find their own ride to class.

Board members voted against a proposal to also include juniors as legacy students. Many families are concerned that switching schools as a junior will disrupt their already-established academic and social activities.

Mark Bedell, superintendent of Anne Arundel County Public Schools, supported only including seniors as legacy students. He first unveiled his proposal in July. 

Bedell said he adapted his redistricting maps as best he could after getting thousands of comments in online questionnaires and at public hearings.

"I implore everybody to think about the greater good of the system," Bedell said at Wednesday's board meeting. "Redistricting is not fun, but it is a necessity. There is no possible way that every single person is going to be happy."

To see if you changed school districts, enter your address in the search tool posted at

'I'm So Ineffably Exhausted'

Iris Whiteman is a sophomore at Northeast High School. Her Pasadena community was redistricted to Chesapeake High School. 

If juniors were included as legacy students, she would have been able to continue at Northeast High. Now, her family isn't sure if she will continue in AACPS.

"I'm struggling to connect the missing dots," Iris Whiteman told Patch in an email. "We wrote messages tirelessly. We fought hard in every step, speaking to a wall. I'm struck by the results. All this effort for nothing. I understand that redistricting means someone is disappointed, but I'm so ineffably exhausted while I repine at the results of nights spent writing wasted letters."

Her mother, Mara Whiteman, also has three Northeast High graduates and a current senior at the school. 

Mara Whiteman is "disappointed and shocked" that the board voted against including juniors as legacy students.

"Throughout the meeting the board members praised the redistricting process as 'transparent' yet during the comments leading up to the vote, the board members continued to reference a pros and cons briefing they received last Friday as swaying their opinions, and this has not been shared with the public," Mara Whiteman told Patch in an email. "Some members voting against juniors said it was due to equity, because not all students have the access and opportunity to self transport. While I understand this consideration, I don't know why equity concerns impact the junior class and not the senior class."

District 1 Board Member Gloria Dent represents the Linthicum Heights and Brooklyn Park area, which saw boundary changes. She wanted to give juniors legacy status.

Dent said her family has moved frequently, so she understands the challenges students will face. Dent's oldest child has relocated four times, and her son took an exam to test out of 12th grade to avoid another school change.

"Neither one of those scenarios worked out good for either one of my kids, so it is personal for me," Dent said. "It does keep me up at night. It's kept me up quite a bit about how and why we're making this decision when it comes to our juniors but not our seniors."

The board approved the seniors-only legacy student policy by a 5-3 vote. Here is how each board member voted. Both proposals had the same school boundary lines.

Gloria Dent (District 1)

  • Juniors and seniors

Vice President Robert Silkworth (District 2)

  • Seniors only

Corine Frank (District 3)

  • Juniors and seniors

Melissa Ellis (District 4)

  • Juniors and seniors

Dana Schallheim (District 5)

  • Seniors only

President Joanna Bache Tobin (District 6)

  • Seniors only

Michelle Corkadel (District 7)

  • Seniors only

Eric Lin (Student member)

  • Seniors only

Residents can check which school board district they live in at this link.

Redrawing School Boundaries

Thirteen schools are currently over capacity in North County. The redistricting will reduce overcrowding and bring each of those schools under 100% capacity.

There are currently 41 schools in this area that are well-utilized or optimally utilized, meaning they are filled between 70% and 100% of their capacity. The redistricting will move an extra 13 schools to a well or optimally utilized status.

The first redistricting phase redrew high school boundary lines for the Chesapeake, Glen Burnie, Meade, North County, Northeast and Old Mill clusters. The second phase will redistrict the Annapolis, Arundel, Broadneck, Crofton, Severna Park, South River and Southern clusters when talks resume in 2025.

Pasadena's Farmington Village neighborhood is one of the communities slated for a school change.

Students from Farmington Village currently attend Northeast Middle School, which is 0.7 miles away, and then Northeast High School, 2.4 miles away.

The redistricting plan has them shifting to Chesapeake Bay Middle School and Chesapeake High School, which are both 5.9 miles away down Mountain Road.

Scott Taylor is the father of a current sophomore at Northeast High School. His daughter now has to switch to Chesapeake High School because juniors weren't included as legacy students.

"Farmington Village in Pasadena is being redistricted to the Chesapeake High School district," Taylor wrote in a letter to the Board of Education. "I'll be honest, I was surprised by this because I know how bad Mountain Rd traffic is. Farmington Village students are walkers to Northeast Middle School as we are less than a mile from the middle school. The high school is less than 5 minutes away from our house."

Frank is the board member for Farmington Village and the Moutain Road peninsula. She empathizes with families who have to make a change, but she thinks these maps are as balanced as possible.

"While no map can ever be perfect because of our geography, populations and current building locations, especially the ones down Mountain Road, it does address the needs of our students and our system," Frank said. "Conditions for students should not include immense overcrowding if it can be avoided, and students should not have island school scenarios. The maps provided address those needs."

Traffic On Mountain Road

Farmington Village families think switching from the nearby Northeast feeder system to the farther Chesapeake feeder system will add buses to the already-congested Mountain Road.

Bedell, however, said his plan will have "no additional buses on Mountain Road in Pasadena, consistent with a study done for Anne Arundel County and the State Highway Administration that indicates concerns about safety and vehicular load."

As a concerned parent, Mara Whiteman told officials that the Farmington Village shift is "a negative for the students, and everyone who lives on the peninsula and relies on Mountain Rd."

"The proposal will make a significant impact on Mountain Rd traffic ..., yet we're proposing sending 150 new students down Mountain Rd each day," Mara Whiteman said in a letter to the board. "I'd rather see the underutilized Chesapeake schools used for storage as suggested at a board meeting, than drafting more students to fill Mountain Rd and the Chesapeake school halls. Sending Farmington Village to Chesapeake is not the best decision for Pasadena."

Other Redistricting Changes

The redistricting created two split articulations as students move from elementary school through high school.

MacArthur Middle School students living in the Frank Hebron-Harman Elementary School and Van Bokkelen Elementary School boundary areas will attend Old Mill West High School instead of Meade High School.

Corkran Middle School students living in the Oakwood Elementary School and Woodside Elementary School boundaries will go to Old Mill High School rather than Glen Burnie High School.

Following public feedback, Freetown Elementary School students will still move on to Marley Middle School and Glen Burnie High School.

The redistricting proposal also set the boundaries for Old Mill West High School and West County Elementary School, which are set to open in fall 2024.


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Just a tidbit of information, the Maryland Teachers Union Employees make $181,000 per year on average. As per a recent story from WBFF, the Maryland teachers union is raking in record amounts of revenue intended to improve public education, but Project Baltimore is learning most of the money is NOT going to students. Is Bedell part of the solution or part of the problem. Is DEI part of the problem as well?

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