HCPSS MPIA Request #2019-203

Requested Information
The County will soon proceed with its plan to bulldoze all the green space around Harpers Choice Middle School to build the North Columbia Fire and Police Stations. This will include removing the reforestation project at the site.

I am requesting documentation regarding the history and status of the reforestation project at Harpers Choice Middle School, particularly regarding the sponsorship for the effort, the funding sources for its creation and continued maintenance, any forest buffer curriculum, and the names of organizations who volunteered their time and energy to such a worthy cause. I would also like to know what arrangements have been made by the School Board to commemorate those efforts and to provision for another reforestation project to replace the trees around the school grounds.
Date Received
Response Notes

Responsive to this request, HCPSS Operations staff indicate there are no existing records regarding a reforestation project at Harper's Choice Middle School. UPDATE: Following additional information provided that indicated the exact location and content of signs along the Harper’s Choice Middle School property, we determined the trees in question were planted in 2014 as part of the Live Green Howard initiatives and the Students Branching Out project. The school staff who participated in the planning had one record, a plat with plans for the plantings, which is included below as responsive to this request. This program is operated by the Howard County Government, specifically coordinated by Howard County Recreation and Parks, the Office of Community Sustainability and the Department of Public Works. As such, we would refer you to their offices as the custodian of records related to funding, volunteers involved, etc. More details and contact information can be found on their website as well: https://livegreenhoward.com/land/tree-programs/students-branching-out/.

In response to your request for information concerning the future of these trees following any decisions made by the County in relation to the placement of fire/police facilities, the Board of Education currently has no records indicating arrangements for commemoration or replacement. Please note, under the MPIA process, and as advised in the Fourteenth Edition of the Maryland Public Information Act Manual created by Maryland’s Office of the Attorney General, an agency is only obligated to produce existing records and is not required to commit itself to provide records that have not yet been created. Comments/considerations for the Board of Education can be sent at any time to boe@hcpss.org or presented during Open Forum opportunities during regularly scheduled Board meetings: https://www.hcpss.org/board/meeting-participation/.


Responsive Documents

*Some request language is summarized to include the requester's specific document requests and legally protected information (such as personally identifiable information of a student) or personal, defamatory and malicious content removed at the discretion of the school system.

**Responses containing legally protected information available only to the person of interest are omitted from the above report.

***Howard County Public Schools reserves the right to remove erroneous or outdated documents from this site.