News from Councilman David Marks:
Kamenetz calls for new plan to address central area overcrowding in schools
Proposal is part of the $1.1 billion Schools for our Future Program
(August 1, 2014) After reviewing the most recent budget estimates for a proposed plan to resolve overcrowding in the York Road corridor, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has informed School Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance that he can no longer support and fund that plan.
“The plan that has been under discussion for nearly a year has turned out to be far too expensive, and as a result we revisited an earlier suggestion that appears to be more viable, giving students and teachers better facilities and taxpayers much more bang for the buck,” said Kamenetz.
The current plan would add 789 seats by building 600 seats in a renovated Loch Raven Elementary School which now serves as a community center and constructing a 189-seat addition to Cromwell Valley Elementary School. That plan according to school officials would cost $48 million, plus the County’s estimated cost of $3-$4 million for a replacement Loch Raven Community Center, for an effective cost of $52 million to gain 789 seats.
As an alternative, the County Executive advised that the County will support construction of a new 700-seat elementary school on the site of the Bykota Senior Center, replacing the former Towson Elementary School. A modern replacement senior center would be constructed nearby. It is anticipated that the new school would cost up to $30 million.
A renovated school on the Bykota site had been considered by the County and school system last year, but was deferred in favor of the Loch Raven plan. “Given the cost scenario, we think Bykota is the better choice,” said Kamenetz. “We can build a brand new school in a better location with less disruption.”
The County advises that it continues to support air conditioning and minor renovations to Halstead Academy, which would continue in its current capacity.
“The new plan will allow Halsted students to remain in their school which will now be air conditioned and allow the Loch Raven community to retain its current community center,” said Kamenetz. “It will also provide a brand new school in the center of west Towson where the seats are most needed. Seniors will also be able to take advantage of a brand new senior center in the same area. It is a much better plan for everyone involved. I look forward to working with Dr. Dance and the Board to make this new plan a reality.”