New Harford County Public Schools dent enrollment
The availability of teachers for one-on-one help, the small class sizes, and the freedom offered at JC are what won junior Dan Ruck over.
Ruck and his parents had to make a decision that many eighth graders face: where to go to high school. However, Ruck chose a private education over a new public high school.
Graduating from Bel Air Middle School (BAMS), Ruck chose to attend JC instead of the new Patterson Mill High School. However, Ruck’s decision to attend JC despite the tuition is becoming increasingly unpopular.
According to Admissions Director Kim Brueggemann, there are only 58 former BAMS students in the current student body, and the number is only getting smaller.
In the current senior class, 53 BAMS students applied to JC, but only 23 students actually chose to attend. In the current junior class, 32 BAMS students applied, but only 20 chose to attend. In the current sophomore class, 17 BAMS students applied, but only 9 chose to attend. In the current freshmen class, 14 BAMS students applied, but only 7 chose to attend. Finally, in the incoming freshmen class, 6 BAMS students applied, but only 4 are choosing to attend JC.
“People are attracted by the [aesthetic] appeal of the new public high school buildings, while JC is almost 46 years old,” Brueggemann said.
“People need to continue to take a closer look at the core of JC and choose [to enroll here]. Unfortunately, many people don’t do that. They think ‘It’s a newer school so it must be the better education,’” Brueggemann said.
Doug Rudd, a guidance counselor at BAMS, offered further explanations for the drop in BAMS students that attend JC.
Rudd cited the poor economy and the rising number of magnet programs in Harford County, saying that the combination of these two factors is to blame.
“I’ve had lots of conversations with parents who ask, ‘If my child gets into a magnet program, why should I pay for private school education?’” Rudd said. “It’s expensive to send your child to private school. That’s 40K you could be saving for your child’s college [tuition].”
In the current freshmen class, Rudd said that only 37 students at BAMS applied to private school, as opposed to the 72 students who applied to magnet schools. “The magnet programs are really keeping kids in public school,” Rudd said.
Mollyann Pais can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org