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Hobbs: Dundalk School Reorganization Not Indicative of Countywide Trend

Three Dundalk schools will be housed in two facilities as the school system makes plans to turn property over to the county.

School officials announced plans to consolidate three Dundalk schools into two facilites Monday night, but denied a larger county trend.

At a meeting with Dundalk families at Holabird Middle School, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Hobbs said the Eastwood Center Elementary Magnet School property will be turned over to the county for redevelopment at the end of the current school year. School officials are considering options to house the Eastwood, Holabird and Norwood Elementary School programs between the Holabird and Norwood facilities.

The current Eastwood site could possibly be used for a new area police station.

"You're always looking to respect the best use of space," he said following the meeting. "The conversation about Eastwood has been ongoing."

Hobbs, who started his role in August, did not confirm when the county and school system began negotiations about Eastwood. He said the decision to place the three programs in two facilities came about as a result of low school enrollment figures in the area.

County officials were not in attendance at the meeting.

Principals at the three schools—and Dundalk High School's principal—presented parents with two options to enforce the changes. Under one option, there would be a lower school at Norwood with grades Pre-K through third and an upper school at with grades four through eight at Holabird. The other choice is to retain a Pre-K through grade five program at Norwood with a STEM focus, and create a kindergarten through eighth grade STEM magnet program at Holabird.

Affected families were invited to provide feedback on the options before a final decision is made.

Hobbs also denied that Superintendent Dallas Dance is looking to create more kindergarten through eighth grade programs around the county.

"I don't think he has a particular preference for it," he said.

It remains unclear what the magnet, special education and other programs will look like under the new models.

"It's too soon to tell," said Mychael Dickerson, a school system spokesman. "We're still working it out."

Read More:

  • School Reorganization Could Lead to New Police Precinct
  • Parents Upset With Proposed 'Merger' of Three Schools
Rich Foot December 11, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Do research-based best practices in education regarding student learning in smaller schools vs larger ones suggest this is a justifiable proposal? Burden of proof lies with the school system to present a more tenable rationale than needing a new police precinct or low enrollment. Recall the 2008-09 plan to consolidate Dundalk Middle and Sollers Point? Good economics do not always equal good politics. -Richard Foot, CEO of Foot's Forecast and Eastwood Elementary parent
MMZ December 11, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Is this in the best interest of "the children," or is this a way for Kamenetz to save $$. These schools have some of the worst performance in the county. Is this really a good idea?
JD1 December 12, 2012 at 03:41 AM
And where is DD on this issue - guess he's busy tweeting about his PR campaign
Eric Schindler December 12, 2012 at 05:57 AM
I was there last night and I must say that being a "dundalkian"for my entire life I know the ins and outs of these schools I attended both norwood and holabird and graduated from Dundalk high. This is a cheap attempt to take eastwoods curriculum and try and implement it into these other schools. Seems like the county has nothing better to do then tell parents weeks before the christmas break that their child will no longer have a building to go to after June. So we have a choice.... over crowed and ALREADY overcrowded Norwood or to send our children ages 3-11 into a school that was already invitrated by an outsider and run the risk of another "bathroom" incident happening? If you ask me they should take a look at where these kids that are over crowding Norwood are coming from and see if they can send them to another local school or better yet utilize the present grounds to make a bigger school to fit the needs of the community.
TS1 December 16, 2012 at 07:35 PM
I attended the meeting that was held on 12/10/12 to inform us Eastwood Parents that our children would no longer have a "building" to go to after June of this year. I am so disappointed in the county and Kamenetz for not attending this meeting personally to tell us face to face about their intentions for our schools; instead we were subjected to a meeting held by 3 principals who they themselves did not have answers to give us. I, personally, do not want my first grader or my fourth grader to be exposed to the middle school issues that already exist in the Holibird Middle School. Whether it is the fights that teachers haven't felt safe enough to intervene, or the sexual predator incident that happened last year who wandered into the school with students undetected or the fact that you have to enter the building through metal detectors! Eastwood Center is small, family-like, and successful. Why is this always about dollars BCo Government?!! What happened to safety, education, continuity? I want to know HOW they intend to keep the middle and elementary schoolers separated. Sparrows Point Middle & High school was mentioned as an example; however, they are divided by two floors, Holidbird middle school does not offer separate levels. I feel that the parents, of ALL THREE schools deserve some answers! Enough of the back and forth, trying to "appease" us as parents and staff - you already know what you intend to do with our school - what is it? Black and White.
tim sapp December 19, 2012 at 11:56 AM
there was no plan in place and theya re gonna fly by the seat of their pants, at the expense of our students. is it even legal for the county excutive to make this sole decision without consulting the residents of the county? where are the studies of enviromental impact in the community of eastwood, what about impact in traffic, noise polution for the neighbors of the new police station? where was parental involvement when it comes to the move. parents were told by principal, this is our choice, eastwood is leaving and becoming mereged school with 2 underperforming schools, one overcrowded the other under enrolled (we all know more students enrolled in school equals more money, sad but true). i agree witht the above commentor, attempted sexual assult on student while baltimore county drug resource police was in the school, what would have happened to a frist grader unable to fight off and adult male? would this be allowed to happen in more affluent zip code with a greater policatl voice then poor Dundalk? people will come back to the area for better schools not a target or a new walmart!!!!
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