Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Liberty High School Closing Follow Up

I've received a lot of feedback offline from people doubting my speculation that Liberty High School might be closing.  I did hedge it and said that it was not definite that Liberty High School was closing, but that the possibility is real.  I stand behind that statement.  School closing are on the table and Liberty High School is an obvious choice for closing.

To start, people with children in Carroll County Public Schools got this email:

Dear Parents,

Due to declining revenues, Carroll County Public Schools has been forced to reduce its operating expenses by $20 million over the past five years.  Other than continuing to reduce staff, we have exhausted most areas of reduction in our operating budget.   Therefore it is time to look at our facilities to ensure that we are using all of our school space in the best possible manner.   Accordingly, Carroll County Public Schools will be conducting a comprehensive facility study over the next several months.  

A major component of the study will be input from parents, employees, and members of the community.  As you may know, there has been a lot of public discussion about the declining student enrollment and the correspondingly increasing number of empty seats throughout our schools.  This is your opportunity to give us your thoughts.

Initially we will collect input from the public through the use of a survey.  Later we will have public hearings on any recommended options.You may find the survey at the following link:

Please take some time to complete this survey.   Some of the questions we will be asking will seek your input on various options for school system redistricting and school closures. The survey will be available from May 31 through June 15, 2012.

Results of the survey and other information will be made available as the study progresses. In addition, another community survey seeking input on specific proposals and recommendations will be conducted in late September or early October. The entire study will be completed by December 31, 2012.

I would like to thank you in advance for participating in this survey.  The decisions we make based on your input will affect all of us --  possibly for years to come. It is important to us as a school system and a community that your voice be heard.

Stephen H. Guthrie
Superintendent of Schools

If you go to the website, there is a link to take a survey that asks if residents would be open to the idea of closing schools that are under capacity, what to do with those facilities, and redistricting students to other schools.  Take the survey and read the questions.

Additionally, I heard from someone who works for the public school system about which schools were candidates.  From a logical perspective, it makes sense.  Southern Carroll County is served by three high schools - Liberty, Century, and South Carroll.  Despite what others have said, my understanding is that these schools are not at full capacity.  Century High School is new.  South Carroll was recently renovated.  Liberty, despite only being 30-some years old, is the oldest non-renovated school in the bunch.

Another argument against Liberty closing is that it is considered one of the top high schools in the state (or was it the country?).  I firmly believe that has more to do with the caliber of students and their parents than the school.  Those children will succeed in other schools just as well at other schools.  This high quality teachers will be distributed to the other schools.  Hopefully, the bad teachers will be terminated.  Yes, there are bad teachers.  Don't fall into the lie that all teachers are wonderful.  There are bad employees in every company and organization.

Therefore, based on these facts and solid rumors, I stand by the statement that Liberty High School is a candidate to close if Carroll County is unable to close the budget gap created by Governor Martin O'Malley.

If you disagree, please let me know why.


Craig Bailey said...

If they close the school what will they do with the land and buildings?

phlebotomist said...

I voted against O'Malley's mean-spirited Congressional districts that disenfranchises African-American voters in Prince George's County and Republican voters in Western Maryland by lumping them together with Montgomery County liberal suburbanites. Are the districts compact? No. Do people in Western Maryland have anything in common with Montgomery County? Not much. Is Montgomery County sensitive to the blight and economic struggles in Western Maryland. Nope. They're more worried about getting Ramadan recognized as a school holiday.
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