County Councilman David Marks is asking the Baltimore County Board of Education to reconsider its recently-reworked policies on magnet admissions.
Under a rule change adopted in April, the school system ended the policy of automatically granting magnet admissions to incoming kindergarteners whose siblings already attend the school (starting with the 2015-2016 school year).
Additionally, an unstated policy gave admissions priority to students who live near the school, but Marks said that appears to have changed as well.
"There may be good reasons to make a change in the name of countywide equity and fairness, but there are also solid arguments for retaining the current policy," Marks wrote in the letter to outgoing Superintendent Joe Hairston dated Tuesday.
Towson's lone elementary magnet program is at the Cromwell Valley Elementary Regional Magnet School of Technology. Many of its students live in the nearby Campus Hills neighborhood. Marks expressed concern in the letter that the system disregarded the environmental and social impacts of no longer allowing children from Campus Hills priority to attend Cromwell Valley, and no longer giving priority to siblings of magnet students. Check out the letter attached to this story.
Ending priority enrollment for children from those neighborhoods was a "judgment call," Marks said in an interview, made without "meaningful input by those affected by the policy change."
"My big concern is just the timing," Marks said. "And I don't know why this was done with the superintendent going out the door."
Hairston is set to retire on June 30.
In a May letter to the editor on Patch, Cromwell Valley PTA president Tom Irwin said the rule change would inconvenience magnet parents in years to come.
"This means, if you have a child at a magnet school and your younger child is not admitted via random lottery, you will be forced to either take your older child out of the school they've attended in previous years or send your elementary age children to two separate schools," Irwin wrote.