Eastwood Parents Say They Feel 'Betrayed' By School System

Parents from the Dundalk elementary school, which is slated for a merger with two other area schools, complained about communications from the school system.

Parents of students at Eastwood Elementary Magnet School in Dundalk packed a Tuesday night Board of Education meeting to say they felt duped by the school system.

During a Dec. 10 meeting at Holabird Middle School, school officials broke the news to Dundalk families that they intend to merge Eastwood, Holabird and Norwood Elementary Schools. The process includes shutting down the Eastwood facility, although the school system denies this means the end of the school.

The closure of the Eastwood facility is part of a larger plan by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz to sell property to construct new county buildings. The Eastwood property may be used for a new police precinct.

"We feel betrayed," Eric Williams, an Eastwood parent, said to the board. "We feel this was a political agenda you all have been aware of for months."

Williams said he did not want the Eastwood children to be "guinea pigs" for a potential kindergarten through eighth grade pilot program.

"You have broken my child and her classmates' hearts," he said. "This is Christmas time."

He also expressed concern about recent criminal activity at Holabird.

"Eastwood has never had a gun found in the school and its never had a 21-year-old man in the bathroom," he said.

Dan Ricci, another Eastwood parent, shared Williams' outrage about not being alerted to the merger process sooner.

"I feel like I was left out of the process," Ricci said. "I don't know if there were laws broken...certainly something unethical and unprofessional must have happened."

Immediately after the meeting, Board President Lawrence Schmidt could not confirm if and in what capacity decisions about Eastwood and the merger would come before the board.

"I, as president, would want it to come in some capacity," he said.

Superintendent S. Dallas Dance provided the following statement by email after the meeting:

"I appreciate the response and feedback we have received from parents and stakeholders in the Eastwood Elementary, Norwood Elementary, and Holabird Middle School communities. Approximately a month ago, I asked staff to engage the community in determining how we could expand the Eastwood Center Elementary Magnet School program. The administration has been in dialogue with the county to release the Eastwood facility at the end of the 2012-2013 school year, pending Board of Education approval.

"As stated from the beginning, no final decisions on the instructional programs have been made, and we will continue to solicit input from the public.

"The two options, introduced at our first public meeting, were developed collaboratively by our principals, however, they are not the only options.  We welcome additional options and I look forward to the final recommendations.

"I encourage the community to continue to work with the principals to find solutions that will provide the best educational environment for all children."

David Taylor December 19, 2012 at 04:34 PM
So... is the magnet school being shut down and the special needs program eliminated and in Towson, the park being razed just to optimize the school program and fire departments, or was all this just to make space for developers to build a Target and a Wawa ? To me at least, the school/FD stuff seems like it was thrown together as an afterthought - "give the developers the space, we'll figure out how to relocate the kids later..." And where is the accounting? What are the numbers *exactly* - I read KK's letter, and there are a LOT of "ifs" in there - *if* the deal results in leftover money, maybe we'll give the BCPS system some air conditioners... Yeah. Right. I'm not buying it.
Al Day December 19, 2012 at 05:08 PM
How many of you still think government is the answer? Remember a time when common sense was more popular? The last thing we need is to mix kindergarteners with 8th graders. But money is king.
ROB December 19, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Get your facts straight on that one. Seagram's is a contaminated site. Who would have benefitted from a "land swap"? The developer? His close friend, Johnny O? Taxpayers of Baltimore County? Residents of Dundalk? Think about it! It's a no brainer,right?
Meg O'Hare December 19, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Dr. Dance is not a "fall guy". He is a "puppet". Dr. Dance and the Board of Education of Baltimore are "puppets" of Baltimore County Governement. Under the lackluser leadership of Larry Schmidt (former Baltimore County liquor board chair and zoning commissioner and currentlya development attorney in the firm with Jim Smith and his son, Michael Smith). BW--Dr. Hairston refused to close these 2 Dundalk Elementary Schools last year. This closing is all on Dr. Dance's watch.
Buzz Beeler December 19, 2012 at 05:51 PM
This deal may not be legal. The Board of Education must approve despite the sale or plans of the executive and Superintendent Dance.
Buzz Beeler December 19, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Rob also I don't think the developer ever had any real plans to do anything with the property other than sell it. All the rest was pure hype. He could not meet the qualifications of the county charter to participate in a deal like that. He admitted at the last community meeting he was just floating ideas and had no big box stores involved in negations. In fact most big box stores are going out of business because of computer shoppers seeking deals. Matthew you can Google the facts. Even now the property is not ready for any demolition until the developers meet the requirements of the law. There has been no activity since March in seeking permits to do anything.
ROB December 19, 2012 at 06:14 PM
tim sapp December 19, 2012 at 06:49 PM
i am not sure if any of this is legal. they are taking land that tax payers of the county foot the bill for. there is a big empty lot across from the police station enoguh for developers. no one wants another walmart and target is opening up in canton crossing not gonna put another wawa really, do we need one? sadly the county i guess is preparing our kids for their futures as cashiers of these big box retailers !!!
Buzz Beeler December 19, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Meg, check your blog post. You cannot comment.
David Taylor December 19, 2012 at 07:08 PM
If the county needs funds, and they want to sell off schools and parks, maybe they should consider turning the May's Chapel sites into a new Walmart. That way, we can save the money by not relocating all these buildings/kids/firehouses and still get improvements for the schools. Seem reasonable? "State Board of Ed Strikes Down Mays Chapel School Site Approval" Let's sell that school land to Target/Walmart !!! http://towson.patch.com/articles/state-board-rules-against-mays-chapel-school-site
Tony Solesky December 19, 2012 at 10:28 PM
How can anybody ever say they feel betrayed by the school board??? That implies that you were not well versed in how things work. Here is an education for you this is how it all works all of it everything. when you have a plan that recognizes that then you can conduct your group accordingly. It is not a conspiracy it is a function of goverment and public ignorance.
Ron Burgundy December 20, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Buzz, how are you, just in town for a brief x-mas visit and heading back "home" tomorrow. I will tell you there is something about living in the South. The problems are remarkably similar but the people there make it all seem so trivial. It seems as if nothing much has changed here. You're still battling Steve and for the most part you remain at war with the County. I also see that the plump peacock of Parkville continues to parse and pontificate as if she knows anything. Need I remind her of "her" tenure on the Board, we're still looking for the $7,000,000 from Milford Mill. I think she needs to return to the site of her blog picture, she serves zero purpose in Baltimore County. Interesting to read some past blogs only to find almost zero comments about the County saving $340 million over the next 30 years yet a ton of "noise" when they lose a settlement for $500,000, incredible. Also find it interesting when land that was designated for a school 30 years ago is now in question by the neighbors who moved there knowing full well what the land was going to be used for, again incredible. Oh well it's good to get a laugh every now and then. Have a Merry Christmas and amazingly there is a side of me that misses you,and the comments, if for nothing else other than comic relief. Anyway, it was good to get a laugh will return in the spring for another brief visit.
Tony Solesky December 20, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Ron, you don't know me but I saw your post and was wonderiing where are they saving 340 million over the next 30 years I missed that, Although I was aware of a money move or better yet a reallocation of otherwise obligated money in the form of a unpatable loan by robbing Peter to pay Paul type move. Even if the move is entirely necessary it is not saving anything anywhere.
Joe Dolan December 20, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Hey, we get the government we voted for. We had a good guy in Bartenfleder and tossed him on his ear. But, we kept the same old Dundalk politicians. What did you think was going to happen. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Cwhathadhappened... December 20, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Rob, I wish Matthew wouldn't have responded so well.... anyways. Can I ask you a question.... what stake do you have in any of this?? Just asking, not judging. Why do you care so much about a politician and his so called developer friend. If they were so close wouldn't the deal be done already. Another thing ROB, we have to work together for what's best for OUR community. That's right OUR Community. Last I checked there is no King of Dundalk. Stop worrying about one politician and let's work together as a community and come up with a plan. Seems as if there are no leaders on this side of town. Just a bunch of complainers that are worried about what the person next to them is in line to receive. Lets all start working together towards something positive instead of complaining all the time.
Buzz Beeler December 20, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Ron I know the score. I did receive recognition as for my blogging for Patch. I cover stories that needed to told of a persons work for the community among other issues. Not to disappoint you I have one one on Kamenetz's speal on hiring vets coming out maybe tomorrow. You see I study the county budget. If they are in such good shape why are they borrowing from the pensions? Fiscally sound governments don't do that. The liability alone will bankrupt them. Your comparison to the numbers is a little skewed since it deals with real lives of cops, firefighters and others. I know these characters. Right after you enjoy reading about the one on the executive you can read the one about how our States Attorney not only puts our lives at risk but the state is a partner. You see to them - lets make a deal and fantasy football - is more important. Did I mention while you were gone the state issued subpoenas to the county over development deals we think and shockingly it's expanding. Imagine corruption in the county! Heaven forbid. I stand up to the Steve's and his type because they can't stand someone who achieves something with their life and they don't, especially when your real and they are not along with disagreeing with them. The U.S. is slipping in a lot of major categories and by 2030 the major super powers will come from Asia. As they say, they can't handle the truth.
Steve December 20, 2012 at 03:38 AM
"You have to be patient Frank and your like a kid that can't wait to rat out someone. Trouble is I made most of the corrections so you wasted your time. You can't control yourself. Ron meet one of the other losers who I deal with. I type ten times more than all three four or how many of them there are, and all they can due is spell check my comments. They don't know how to control the moderation cue. You have to 1ke argue for you when your wrong?" Somebody better step in. This Dude is Nuts and he carries a gun... You Patch people think it's all well and good until Beeler goes Ballistic.
Steve December 20, 2012 at 03:41 AM
"Right after you enjoy reading about the one on the executive you can read the one about how our States Attorney not only puts our lives at risk but the state is a partner. You see to them - lets make a deal and fantasy football - is more important." Somebody ought to pull this guy's firearms before he threatens us with his "Little German" again.
ROB December 20, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Matthew- There is plenty to read on contamination at Seagram's. Check it out for yourself. No one is being misled. The land will always have restrictions on ownership and use. Maybe all the deals are already done, and the politicians are just playing out the game for show. In time, we'll know the truth. We'll learn who followed the the rules and who rewrote them to serve a special interest. Don't assume you know the real story about all this......
Frank December 20, 2012 at 03:51 AM
"all they can due is spell check" "You have to 1ke argue for you when your wrong?"
Buzz Beeler December 20, 2012 at 04:41 AM
You have to be patient Frank and your like a kid that can't wait to rat out someone. Trouble is I made most of the corrections so you wasted your time. You can't control yourself. Ron meet one of the other losers who I deal with. I type ten times more than all three four or how many of them there are, and all they can due is spell check my comments. They don't know how to control the moderation cue. You have to have 1ke argue for you when your wrong?
Buzz Beeler December 20, 2012 at 05:37 AM
Stank 1 & 2 wrong again. Why don't you three take your one gold tooth, bus tickets and head south, and when they yell light turn in and lights out sleep with one eye open open like your friend said. Stank 1 those are not complete sentences. Enough of the con games for tonight. Your brethren want to sleep but don't close your eyes. You have no idea what you're commenting about. "Little German", is a band, but what would you expect. Wait still I finish the blog before flapping those lips. Good thing there is no wind tonight. Stank 2 I don't need to carry. Cant' you get anything right especially the same mistakes you make over and over again. They have programs for those issues even in prison. If you pulled up your pants and straightened your cap, you might find a burger joint that will hire you despite being a con, otherwise just stay behind bars were you and your buddies belong. I feel sorry for you little guys. Amazing how you three can spend all day on here on my money. Each and every day all day and half the night. Every time I comment your like a flash mob.
Meg O'Hare December 20, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Just in town for a few days, Don? I wish you did live in Florida or anywhere other than Baltimore County. At least I know that I am on the side of the children of Baltimore County not the Good Ole Boys dating back to Dale Anderson.
Meg O'Hare December 20, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Is there any doubt who Ron Burgundy is? Too much knowledge not to be someone so close CE Kamenetz.
Buzz Beeler December 21, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Ron breaking news charges in Baltimore County and it ain't good. I predict more to come. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/breaking/bs-md-whalen-indictment-20121220,0,4010427.story
Buzz Beeler December 21, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Meg, he's been absent too long to be a major player and I think he was truthful in his going away. Just a good guess. There is still a lot out there that folks are looking at.
Steve December 21, 2012 at 04:29 PM
"...all they can due is spell check my comments." BOBB
Ed December 23, 2012 at 02:37 AM
I'll believe that Towson gets to keep its park when I see construction of the new fire station at a different location.
Rich Foot December 25, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Hi Ms. Sullivan: Do you have a child in the school system who's second "feel safe place" (other than home) is being taken from them? Think about how this feels to children: On Friday 12/7, they learn of the horrific tragedy of Connecticut. On Monday 12/10 they learn the school system want to take away their school. If the sanctity of a child's public school can be cancelled because the county wants to, anytime it pleases, then we have lost a piece of America in Baltimore County. Mr. Foot
Rich Foot December 25, 2012 at 10:59 PM
With all of Mr, Burgundy's vast knowledge, perhaps he can share with us his "definition" of a school, since the legal one does not seem to fit the "plan" as well as originally expected.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »