Stoneleigh Students Could Be Bused to Carver During Construction
School officials are expected to unveil a plan at an October meeting that lays out the possibility that Stoneleigh students would be temporarily moved while the school is renovated and expanded.
At a meeting with Stoneleigh Elementary School parents next month, Baltimore County schools officials are expected to announce tentative plans to bus the entire school population to a soon-to-be-vacant high school in Towson for the next school year, according to a source familiar with the situation. The source requested anonymity because that person is not authorized to discuss the situation.
Under this possible scenario, Stoneleigh's students would be sent to the building currently used as the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology during the 2012-2013 school year.
School system spokesman Charles Herndon could not confirm reports of such a plan, but said information about upcoming construction at Stoneleigh would soon be available.
The meeting is scheduled for Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at Stoneleigh Elementary.
The current Carver building will be vacated next year for a new high school under construction nearby. County schools officials originally planned to tear down the older building and use the space for athletic fields. However, keeping it for Stoneleigh students would allow construction to proceed at Stoneleigh without delays and with less disruption to school activities, parents have said.
"The construction team can work faster, they can work longer hours, they can work on all the building at one time," said Cathi Forbes, president of Towson Families United. The group is a coalition of residents seeking solutions to overcrowding in Towson area schools.
Montgomery County has similar practices in place to use vacant schools to house students during construction projects.
Lisa Mathias, a member of Stoneleigh United, grew up in Montgomery County and now has two children at Stoneleigh Elementary.
"It's not going to be ideal for everyone, but at some point it has to be done for the greater good of the Stoneleigh community," Mathias said. "My hope in all of this is that people kind of go into it with an open mind."
Juliet Fisher, also a Stoneleigh United member, said the school system was "thinking outside of the box."
"I really think it makes sense and I want people to think about it and make sense of it," Fisher said. "It seems odd that we have what will be an unused building" at Carver.
County Councilman David Marks, who has pressed the Baltimore County Board of Education to quickly proceed on work planned at Stoneleigh, couldn't confirm plans to bus students to Carver. However, he praised the school system for looking at "creative ways to accelerate construction of a school" and said he "would certainly be supportive" of such a proposal.
But some Towson parents are looking past next year. Forbes said parents want to see the Carver building turned into a middle school.
Although middle schools countywide are under capacity, Forbes noted that today's sixth-graders were first-graders when Rodgers Forge Elementary School began adding kindergarten classes.
And with the county poised to add a proposed elementary schools at Mays Chapel or Dulaney Springs (as Forge Flyer reports), the stress on the York Road corridor will only increase.