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Policy 6070 – Discontinuation of School Use

The purpose of this policy is to direct the process of discontinuing school use when there is no plan to replace the school with another facility.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education is committed to quality educational opportunities for all Howard County students. Significant reductions in enrollment or other factors may make it difficult to maintain the staffing necessary to provide high quality educational programs at a reasonable cost. In those events the Board may decide that it is in the best interests of the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) to consider permanently discontinuing the use of some schools and consolidating student populations in order to promote more uniform and efficient use of school facilities and resources.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to direct the process of discontinuing school use when there is no plan to replace the school with another facility.

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Advisory Committee – An ad hoc committee composed of affected stakeholders appointed by the Superintendent.

  2. Closing of School – The temporary closure of a school facility for emergency reasons.

  3. Discontinuation of School Use – The decision to permanently end use of a facility as a school and to allow subsequent decisions which may include other use by HCPSS, surplus of the facility to Howard County Government or exchange of site as permitted by county and state laws.

  4. Factors – Reasons for the Board to decide to discontinue a school’s use.

  5. Minimum Enrollment – The lowest recommended enrollment, by level.

  6. Replacement School – A new facility built to succeed an existing school.

IV. Standards

  1. The Board recognizes the value of the school community’s consideration of and participation in the decisions to discontinue school use and encourages comments from citizens and groups.

  2. The procedure for developing a recommendation to discontinue use of a school will include consideration of factors relating to demographic trends, budgetary needs, and operational needs, as well as impact on the community.

  3. The process of discontinuing school use consists of the following:

    1. Evaluate all factors that are associated with the facility in the context of the overall school system

    2. Convene an ad hoc advisory committee of affected stakeholders to review the factors and to provide input

    3. Consult with county and state agencies regarding processes

    4. Present a report to the Board

    5. Hold a public hearing with public testimony

    6. Hold a meeting at which the Board makes a legislative decision to discontinue school use of a facility.

    7. The decision will be recorded in writing and will include a rationale based upon the factors which are established in policy and are consistent with best practices and state law.

      1. In reaching its decision on the closing of one or more schools, the Board will consider:

        1. Staff recommendations presented by the Superintendent

        2. Testimony and comments from the affected communities

        3. Testimony and comments from the public at large.

      2. The Board’s decision to discontinue school use will be coordinated with the following decisions:

        1. Redistricting to place the students assigned to attending area of the discontinued school in new attending areas

        2. Consideration of the operating budget for the fiscal year in which school use will be discontinued.

    8. Announce the Board decision in a public session 90 days before the school is scheduled to close

    9. Publicize notification of decision by the Board

    10. Present a transition plan.

  4. Discontinuation of school use is a permanent closure and does not apply to actions or conditions covered by other policies:

    1. Temporary closure of all schools for emergency reasons (Policy 3010 Emergency Preparedness and Response)

    2. Temporary closure of one or more schools for emergency reasons (Policy 3010 Emergency Preparedness and Response)

    3. Closure of a school that will be succeeded by a replacement school (Policy 6020 School Planning/School Construction Programs)

    4. Late openings or early dismissals (Policy 6010 School Attendance Areas)

    5. Schools closed by a principal for emergency reasons (Policy 3010 Emergency Preparedness and Response).

V. Compliance

  1. The Superintendent is responsible for recommending discontinuation of school use to the Board.

  2. The Superintendent will make recommendations for future use of discontinued facilities.

  3. The Superintendent/Designee is responsible for directing staff on all matters relating to discontinuation of school use.

  4. The Board is responsible for approving or denying discontinuation of school use.

  5. The Board reserves the right to adopt or to modify any school closing alternatives or recommendations presented to it.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop appropriate procedures to implement this policy.

VII. References

  1. Legal:

    • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 4-108. Establishment of Public Schools Title 13–A, State Board of Education; Subtitle 02, Local School Administration; Chapter 09, Closing of Schools

    • Howard County Code, Title 04, Contracts, Purchasing and Property; Subtitle 02, Real property; Section 4.202, Acceptance and Disposition of Surplus School Property and Section 4.203, Exchange of Real Property for Educational Purposes.

  2. Other Board Policies:

VIII. History

ADOPTED: July 8, 1982

REVIEWED: July 1, 2015


REVISED: June 28, 1990, May 12, 2009

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2009