UPDATE (5:02 p.m.)—Charles Herndon, a Baltimore County Public Schools spokesman, said no final site decision has been made at this time regarding construction of a new elementary school.
He added however, "We can't lose sight of the fact that we need a elementary school," to alleviate ongoing overcrowding issues in the public schools system.
Patch will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
ORIGINAL— blasted Baltimore County Public Schools for a lack of community input prior to making a decision to build a new 700-seat elementary school in Mays Chapel.
Huff, in a statement released Monday, criticized the plan, which he said was made "behind closed doors."
Huff told Patch that he was made aware of the decision at a lunch meeting with Superintendent Joe Hairston, fellow council members David Marks and Vicki Almond, as well as other school system representatives more than a week ago.
“Just a few months ago, we were told that nothing had been finalized and that several sites along the York Road corridor were still being considered as options,” Huff stated in the release. “Now, without contacting me, and without reaching out to my constituents in the Mays Chapel community, we’re told that it’s a done deal and that Mays Chapel is the site.”
Charles Herndon, a school system spokesman, could not immediately confirm that the decision to build in Mays Chapel has been finalized.
Huff told Patch in an interview Monday morning that his office has been in contact with school system officials for at least six months and that a plan to build “wasn’t on the drawing boards” until last week’s meeting. The other site considered for the new 700-seat elementary school was on 19.94 acres in the Dulaney Springs neighborhood.
Patch reported in October that
Huff echoed his constituents’ sentiments.
“I realize that a Baltimore County councilman has no authority over the public school system and that my colleagues and I are expected to merely give the schools a half billion dollars per year for their programs, but I expect something in return,” Huff continued in his release. “I expect that my constituents and I will at least be given the courtesy of having some input into decisions about school sites.
“The site is in a densely-populated area,” Huff continued. “Putting a school there not only makes traffic issues worse but also eliminates recreational space. This was a bad idea when it was suggested and rejected several years ago [in 2008], and it’s still a bad idea.”
Huff said he was promised that community informational meetings would take place before any decision came to fruition.
He said, although he was uncertain, that he believed the new school would be opened by 2014.
Stay with Patch as we continue to update this story.