Baltimore County Board Of Education Approves New Middle School Boundaries, Alleviating Overcrowding
BALTIMORE COUNTY - On Tuesday, the Baltimore County Board of Education ratified the new boundaries for middle schools across the central and northeast parts of the county.
In a 6-2 vote, the board approved "Map Option E," as was initially recommended by the Central and Northeast Area Boundary Study Committee. The accepted map expects to bring school enrollment down to 93% or below at all middle schools in Baltimore County.
The proposal anticipates building a new middle school for the northeastern region and increasing the capacity at Pine Grove Middle School in the central area. As per the county's school data from the previous August, roughly one-third of the system's schools were at their maximum capacity or beyond.
The adopted plan will affect the following middle schools:
- Cockeysville Middle School
- Dumbarton Middle School
- Golden Ring Middle School
- New Northeast Area Middle School
- Loch Raven Academy
- Middle River Middle School
- Parkville Middle School
- Perry Hall Middle School
- Pine Grove Middle School
- Ridgely Middle School
- Stemmers Run Middle School
The decision was initially slated for the board's June 13 meeting but was delayed after board member Christina Pumphrey requested that Halstead Academy students attend Dumbarton Middle School rather than Loch Raven Technical Academy, as was proposed by the boundary study committee.
At the June 13 meeting, members also expressed concerns over how Pumphrey's proposal would impact student diversity. In the absence of immediate data, an impact study was requested to assess the effects of Pumphrey's changes. The board agreed to postpone the boundary study vote until the impact study results were available.
According to the impact study, The original proposal, Option E, anticipated the student body at Dumbarton Middle School and Loch Raven Middle School to reach 84% of the schools' capacity. The amended plan, Option E1, adjusted these figures, pushing Dumbarton's capacity to 102% while reducing Loch Raven's to 63%.
In the case of racial demographics under Option E, white students comprised 57% of Dumbarton's student population, and Black students represented 22%. These figures were altered under Option E1, where white and Black student representation stood at 45% and 32%, respectively.
As per the initial proposal, white and Black students were estimated to form 19% and 61% of the total student population, respectively. Option E1 revised these estimates, reflecting a student body composed of 24% white students and 54% Black students.
"Having seen the results of the impact study, I am reassured that all community voices have been considered," Pumphrey said at the July 11 meeting.
One final conflict arose during the vote. Board member Maggie Litz Domanowski raised a motion asking for fellow member Tiffany Lashawn S. Frempong's recusal from voting due to her involvement in the boundary study. This motion was seconded by board member Julie Henn.
Frempong agreed to recuse herself if Domanowski, whose children will be impacted by the study, also recused herself. Domanowski disagreed, and it was clarified by legal counsel that board members cannot force their peers to recuse themselves through a vote.
Ultimately, Domanowski endorsed map option E, while Frempong voted against it. Board member Tiara Booker-Dwyer also voted against Option E, stating that despite leading to increased overcrowding, the proposed map did not promote student diversity. Board members Felicia Stolusky and Brenda Savoy did not participate in the voting process.
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