Jessup Group Competes with Elkridge for Newest Howard County High School

Marquee sign outside of the Ridgelys Run Community Center on Mission Road, near the proposed site for High School #13, prominently displays the community goal. (Photo Courtesy, Why Not Jessup)

There is a fight brewing in Howard County. Although this fight is not with fists, guns, knives, or anything like that, there is no doubt a hotly contested match-up.

In the ring are the communities of Elkridge and Jessup, with the Howard County Public School System superintendent as the officiating referee.

What is the fight about? A new high school. Most superstitious folk consider the number 13 an unlucky number. That certainly seems to be the case here.

Parents in Jessup want the school located on a 77-acre parcel of land on Mission Road, while residents of Elkridge are pushing for a county-owned location in Troy Hill Park.

Recently, Michael Martirano, Superintendent of HCPSS, held a community meeting at Howard High School to meet with interested parties and explain the decision-making process.

Both areas of the county have the same problem – more children than available space. The eastern part of the county is over-crowded and growing. Students in middle school and high school are traveling too far to attend schools outside of their neighbor-hoods, say proponents of both sides.

Along Route One and other areas of the eastern county, there are new multi-family dwellings, while residential construction continues.

Becky McKirahan, a resident of Jessup, is in lockstep with nearly 300 other Jessup residents to get answers about the project. Their question is simple – Why Not Jessup? It is more than a question. It is a tag line posted around the county and online.

On the Facebook group, Why Not Jessup contends that the Mission Road site was a shoo-in until recently. What changed? Trees have been cleared, but now residents are no longer certain that they will be awarded the new school.

The group is circulating a petition in advance of the February 28th deadline, when the superintendent will announce the school system‘s decision.