Kamenetz to Meet Friday with Stoneleigh Parents
One day after controversial letter, county executive agrees to sit down with Stoneleigh United parents.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will meet with a group of Stoneleigh Elementary parents Friday, two days after his office asked the school board to examine alternatives to expanding the overcrowded school.
Kamenetz will meet with members of Stoneleigh United, a group of parents pushing for an expansion and renovation there.
In a letter, released by the county executive's office Wednesday, Kamenetz said he wanted the Board of Education to study other options, including moving students in some grades to middle schools. Many middle schools in the county are under capacity, unlike elementary schools.
"There does not appear to be any magic in the middle school structure that is limited to grades 6-8," Kamenetz wrote.
Last week, the county Planning Board transferred $2 million into its recommendation to the county executive for school construction money to cover design costs for the project. County officials estimate the Stoneleigh Elementary project would cost about $18 million.
Kamenetz's confused and upset some Stoneleigh parents.
Moving some elementary students to middle schools is not unheard of—most recently, when Rodgers Forge Elementary's fourth-graders attended Dumbarton Middle for a year before West Towson Elementary opened.
Parents said it would not work for Stoneleigh and would do little to address the problem.
"What we're really looking at is a long-term solution to fix the elementary schools," Juliet Fisher, a member of Stoneleigh United, told Patch Wednesday. "(Moving students to Dumbarton) deprives those kids of having the enrichment and the activities that are set aside for elementary students."
Cathi Forbes, chairwoman of Towson Families United, said this is familiar territory. She says the call for the study is "driven by economics" and doesn't believe moving students to middle school would be effective in the long run.
"A cursory look at the numbers shows Dumbarton's filling up," she said, pointing to county school enrollment projections that the middle school will be at capacity by 2013. "I don't think it will be a receptacle for additional kids."