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Cromwell Elementary Parents To Protest Magnet Rule Change

The change ends the policy of priority placement for kindergartners at magnet schools their siblings attend.

A group of parents from plan to speak out against a recent magnet school rule change at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting.

The change, enacted in April by outgoing Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Joe Hairston, ends the policy of automatically admitting kindergartners into elementary magnet schools that their siblings already attend, starting in the 2015-2016 school year.

Students are typically admitted to magnet programs through random lottery.

"We have an active parent population," said Kimberly Thomas, vice president of administration and advocacy for Cromwell's Parent Teacher Association. "Getting rid of priority placement pulls parents in all directions."

Thomas said the parents hope to convince newand the school board to overturn Hairston's rule change.

"It directly impacts our school," Thomas said. "We want the opportunity to be heard and that's why we're making the showing [Tuesday]."

County Councilman David Marks is concerned that the rule change was made with "little community input." He acknowledged the merits of the change in regards to countywide fairness but said the argument to keep priority placement is strong as well.

Marks sent a letter to Hairston outlining his issues with the change. On Monday, he sent a letter—attached to this story—to Dance asking him to extend priority placement until the 2018-2019 school year or grandfather the change to exempt current affected families, as a compromise.

"Hairston shouldn't have made this decision without considering the best interest of the community," Marks said.

Marks is also asking the new superintendent to give admission priority to walkers.

"It's very inconvenient to students who live nearby going to a distant school," he said.

County schools officials were not immediately available for comment on this article.

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Lily July 10, 2012 at 06:46 PM
We have a Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/siblingrule/

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