Members voted Wednesday night to draft position letters to the Board of Education, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and other elected officials because they believe construction would impinge on the only open space in the area.
There are currently two options for construction sites for a new elementary school in the Timonium area: Mays Chapel and Dulaney Springs. (See photos.) The purpose of a new elementary school would be to alleviate rampant overcrowding.
GTCC president Eric Rockel said the letter would suggest alternatives to constructing an elementary school on what he considers a tiny plot of land at 20 acres.
“That is the most important parcel in terms of open space in all of Mays Chapel,” Rockel said. “We’re in a situation now where funds are tight for everything. … Part of my argument is going to have, have you really examined additions for other schools?”
Rockel said a group consensus had not been reached on the Dulaney Springs location. The group has fought the Board of Education, who owns both tracts of land, on this issue before. The issue was argued at the county level.
"We argued this issue before in 2007 and the County made its ultimate decision not to proceed in early 2008," Rockel wrote in a follow-up email. "I do give Jim Smith credit for realizing that the proposal from the Board of Education did not make fiscal sense, in addition to the political ramifications of getting the mays Chapel community upset."
Baltimore County Public Schools spokesman Charles Herndon said that nothing has been finalized and both sites should only be considered as options.
A report submitted to the Baltimore County Board of Education on Sept. 20 outlines enrollment capacity issues and possible solutions. (You can read the full report here.)
From the report:
"... current relief strategies at these schools include alternate use of classroom space, use of relocatable classrooms, movement of programs such as pre-kindergarten, and capital construction (Hampton and Stoneleigh). Balancing enrollment among the elementary schools in this region is clearly not feasible because there is no sufficient capacity in any of the schools in the region to satisfy the need. Therefore, as recommended in the FY13 Capital Improvement Plan, a 700 seat new elementary school is proposed to meet the clear need for capacity among these schools. The Board of Education owns two school sites in the region that will be examined for suitability: Mays Chapel and Dulaney Springs."