Monday's board meeting was dominated by comments from individuals who were concerned about the elementary school redistricting plan.
Parents came from different parts of the county to make their voices heard by the board, though the majority was from the neighborhoods surrounding Youth's Benefit Elementary School and Ring Factory Elementary School.
Chris Beauchamp, one of the members of the "Save Glenwood" group, spoke on behalf of his community, which is being redistricted from Ring Factory to Homestead-Wakefield Elementary School.
"Our community's current distance to Ring Factory is not measured in miles or half miles or even quarter miles, it's measured in feet," Beauchamp said. "Thirty-five feet."
"We're on the opposite side of Ring Factory from Homestead-Wakefield, which makes for an illogical, inefficient and costly transportation dilemma; leapfrogging from one elementary school to go to another," he added.
Beauchamp, along with other parents, voiced concern that some of the objectives of the Superintendent's Technical Advisory Committee have not been met with this plan, including minimizing bus time and avoiding pockets of students being moved.
The Stone Ridge community represents one of the "pockets" in the redistricting plan, according to Jeff Brown, a parent in that community. Brown requested that the Stone Ridge community stay within the Fountain Green district instead of the proposed change to Homestead-Wakefield.
"One of the parameters was to avoid small pockets of students feeding into different middle schools," he said. "We would be the only middle school moving into Southhampton from Homestead-Wakefield."
Brown concluded that even with keeping Stone Ridge in the Fountain Green district, because of the low growth in the area, the capacity would decrease to a range of 85 to 95 percent within a year or two.
Youth's Benefit Elementary School, however, has already surpassed capacity, and parents like it that way.
"The concern we have is that lowering the capacity of our school to 95 percent, under this plan, will then allow new construction and increase the likelihood that we will be back over capacity in a few years," said Michelle McCullough, president of the Youth's Benefit Parent-Teacher Association.
Throughout the public comments and regardless of school district, parents requested for board members to take their time and consider their children.
"It isn't just about the schools, as everyone brought up, it's much more than that, it's about sports, churches, social clubs and the families," said Larry O'Keefe, the father of two boys at Youth's Benefit who aren't affected by the plan. "Why not take a step back, look at the process, see who's involved besides the board of education and get the community really involved and up to speed?"
Despite the overwhelming amount of comments made at the meeting, community members assured board members that they had not heard the last of them and that they would continue to return with high expectations.
"We'll make several logical and concrete proposals to staff, the superintendent and the board," Beauchamp said. "Our request tonight is that the board of the education, that you see to whatever oversight may have been made, and when there is an acceptable alternative solution that that solution is seriously considered."
The president of the Harford County Parent-Teacher Association, Sandra Monaco-Burton, had similar requests that the board shed light on some of the issues presented by the redistricting plan, include the community, and ultimately, use rationale when it comes to the proposed district lines.
"We expect that the final plan will look less like bureaucrats sat at their desks and took a sharpie pen to the map and more like a well-thought-out, community-supported rebalancing that enables our students to thrive."