Education, Politics

Board of Education to hear Perry Hall Middle overcrowding relief proposals

PERRY HALL, MD – The construction of the new Nottingham-area middle school has been delayed indefinitely ever since the state senate failed to pass a school construction initiative earlier this year.

In the wake of this decision, Baltimore County Councilman David Marks and BCPS Board Member Julie Henn have requested alternative relief options for the overcrowded conditions at Perry Hall Middle School.

At the next Board of Education meeting to be held on Tuesday, June 11, BCPS staff will present three options for the board to consider, according to Board Member Henn.

The first option would continue the use of relocatable classrooms. No relief would be provided for core spaces or services and outdoor space would be further impacted. Perry Hall Middle School enrollment would remain at 118.9% in 2021 under this plan.

The second option annexes two specific communities: Chapel Hill Elementary School east of Interstate 95 to Stemmers Run Middle School and Vincent Farm Elementary School to Middle River Middle School. Perry Hall Middle School enrollment would be reduced to 109.7% in 2021 under this option. Annexing is a temporary and lower cost solution; however, feeder patterns are disrupted and travel times increase, according to Henn.

The third option is a comprehensive, community-driven boundary study process. While the most expensive of the three options, a boundary study process considers enrollment projections and capacity needs of the entire surrounding area and results in long-term recommendations based on these needs. The specific capacity relief for Perry Hall Middle School would be determined based on the recommendations of the boundary study committee. While no specific target is guaranteed, the goal of a boundary study is to balance enrollment across area schools. As with annexation, a boundary change would take effect for fall 2020.

Councilman Marks and Board Member Henn say they strongly support a comprehensive, community-driven boundary study process which would balance school enrollment and serve in the long-term best interests of students and families.

“Temporary solutions have proven ineffective at addressing permanent challenges,” said Henn. “We need a process that is inclusive of all communities to develop a strategic long-term solution to our school enrollment needs. While we work with our partners in state government to secure funding for capital projects, we must also work with BCPS on sustainable solutions to balance enrollment, particularly in response to changing community demographics.”

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