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Marks Asks School System to Revisit Magnet Rule Change

Under new rules, siblings of magnet elementary students won't automatically be given priority enrollment.

County Councilman 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.

Parkville's lone elementary school magnet program is at the Halstead Academy for Arts & Sciences.

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.

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