Inspired in part by at Stoneleigh Elementary School and elsewhere, parents at Dumbarton Middle School are "uniting" to combat hot temperatures.
A Facebook page opened Monday for Dumbarton United, a group of parents—modeled after groups like Towson Families United and Stoneleigh United—seeking to "improve the learning environment" at Dumbarton. That includes an emphasis on schoolwide air conditioning in schools like Dumbarton that don't yet have it.
Cheri Bond Pegues, the group's organizer and president of the Dumbarton PTSA, said she's aiming for a "non-adversarial, community-based" approach to getting air conditioning in the school.
Pegues, the mother of a rising eighth grader there, said Dumbarton Principal Kelly Erdman and Baltimore County Councilman David Marks were onboard with the efforts of her and the 10-member board of Dumbarton United.
"Obviously, we all want what's best for our children and we want our children to be in the best learning environment possible," Pegues said.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz's budget for the 2013 fiscal year includes money for air conditioning in 12 county schools, but the only school in the Towson area on the list is Stoneleigh Elementary, as part of that school's renovation.
Though students and teachers were blessed with a mild spring and a school calendar that wasn't lengthened by snow days, Pegues said conditions in late August and early June aren't always so nice. She said one teacher has told her about looking over a student's shoulder on an assignment and seeing sweat drip on the paper.
"It's very bad air quality for children with allergies and asthma. I myself have allergies and asthma. I know how difficult that is," she said. The heat "interferes with concentration and just makes for a very unpleasant working environment for everyone."
Pegues said she had planned to deliver remarks about the group's formation at the meeting Tuesday night. She said later that she would not be able to attend, but sent her planned remarks to Patch.
Pegues' written remarks are as follows:
Greetings Board Members and a very warm welcome to Dr. Dallas Dance!
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to share. I am the incoming Dumbarton Middle School PTSA President and Board member of the newly formed Dumbarton United.
Dumbarton United is a community group which works to improve the learning environment of Dumbarton Middle School. Our primary goal for the 2012-2013 school year is to achieve the installation of air conditioning throughout the school. We believe that the lack of climate/ventilation control has a significant adverse effect on the scholastic success of Dumbarton students.
Dumbarton United is committed to our children and to excellence in education. We are grateful for the efforts made thus far to improve our rapidly deteriorating school infrastructure throughout Baltimore County. As a part of these efforts, we would like to see central air conditioning installed at Dumbarton Middle School as soon as possible.
Additionally, Dumbarton United will advocate for a solution to the impending middle school overcrowding in Northern Baltimore County projected to BCPS.
Together as a community, we can ensure that every child has a safe and healthful environment in which to reach his/her potential in a high quality school. Thanks for your support.
Cheri Bond Pegues
Dumbarton Middle School PTSA President