More School Consolidations Could Occur Under Dance Administration
The Baltimore County Board of Education recently approved a recommendation from Superintendent Dallas Dance to merge three Dundalk schools.
Though they say no definitive plans are in the works, Baltimore County Public Schools officials aren't ruling out the possibility of additional school consolidations—similar to a recent Dundalk merger.
"[Superintendent Dallas Dance] has been saying for a while that he's looking for ways to make things run more efficiently for the students," said Charles Herndon, a school system spokesman.
The Board of Education approved a merger of Norwood Elementary, Holabird Middle and Eastwood Elementary schools in Dundalk against strong opposition from parents. The consolidation will result in the closure of Eastwood, starting in the 2013-2014 school year.
Critics of the proposal accused the school system of caving to the whim of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who is in the process of selling off property to construct new county facilities. The Eastwood site is a possible location for a new police precinct.
But school administrators countered that the primary intent behind the move was to make Eastwood's STEM magnet program available to more students. Currently, there is a waiting list of approximately 100 students seeking admission to the program.
Starting in the next school year, the Holabird STEM Academy will operate as a pre-kindergarten through eighth school on the Norwood Elementary and Holabird Middle campuses.
Following a December 2012 meeting announcing intentions for the Dundalk merger, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Hobbs said the consolidation was not indicative of a larger countywide trend.
"That was accurate at the time," Herndon said.