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Planning Board to Vote on Stoneleigh Funds

Board to vote on design funds for overcrowded elementary school; Councilman David Marks sends letter to planning board, county executive.

The Baltimore County Planning Board is set to vote Thursday on projects it will recommend for funding, including the first step toward building an expansion for the overcrowded Stoneleigh Elementary School.

The meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, in room 104 of the Jefferson Building at 105 W. Chesapeake Ave.

The board will forward its recommendations to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who may include the funding in his capital budget.

County Councilman David Marks spoke to Ed Gillis, the board's chair, on Tuesday. He sent a letter to the board and told Gillis he "would appreciate any consideration for getting the money in the capital budget."

Marks also met with Kamenetz, who was "very receptive" to concerns about Stoneleigh.

"He's concerned about fiscal issues, clearly," Marks said. "I think he's doing what he can based upon budget concerns."

Marks said he expects the design will be funded either this year or next year.

The design will cost approximately $2 million. The total price on the renovation is expected to be $18 million, and it would not be finished for several years.

Any progress is welcome for Stoneleigh parents. Money for the expansion was left off the Baltimore County school system's request for state funding. The county did request money, however, for work on an expansion at Hampton Elementary School set to begin later this year.

Last month, a group of Stoneleigh Elementary parents, to the planning board alleging safety concerns as a result of overcrowding there.

"If our ... students need to flee the building in a fire or emergency, they may face injury and gridlock in our narrow halls and stairways trying to evacuate a building never meant to hold so many people," the parents wrote.

Last week, parents, school system officials and elected officials the impacts of overcrowding at Stoneleigh and what officials plan to do about it. The school, built in 1930, has a state-rated capacity of 499 students. Stoneleigh's current enrollment is 637. Stoneleigh Principal Christine Warner said the school has met the fire marshal's safety requirements.

Among the temporary solutions floated at the meeting were a new trailer and leasing space from the vacant Towson Catholic High School. Late last week, Marks with two other County Council members to the Archdiocese of Baltimore asking about that possibility.

Juliet Fisher March 02, 2011 at 07:28 PM
As a Stoneleigh parent, I am hopeful that the County will be able to find a way to include design funding for Stoneleigh in the current budget in order to properly begin to address the long term overcrowding that Stoneleigh has faced and will continue to face in the future without a necessary addition to the school.

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