State School Board rejects Mays Chapel school plan

Supporters- technicality won't stop construction

The plan to build a new school in the Mays Chapel area of Baltimore County has run into a road block.

Supporters of the school say it's nothing but a technicality that's halting the plan for now, but opponents say it's one last opportunity to make their case.

Right now Mays Chapel Park is best known for youth lacrosse and soccer games.  But the land is owned by the Baltimore County Public Schools -- a system with crowded elementary schools up and down the York Road corridor from Towson all the way to Sparks.

And that's why earlier this year, the school board voted unanimously to use its land at Mays Chapel Park to build a new elementary school.

The only problem -- most of the kids in those lacrosse and soccer games don't live near the park, which is surrounded by retirement communities.

The people who do live there, say they'd like to keep the park the way it is.  "What we hope now is going to that they realize that we are indeed serious about not having this school built on that small piece of land," said Whistler Burch, of the Save Mays Chapel Park Committee.

Before its vote earlier this year, the county school board held a public meeting that was well-attended.  But now the state school board has ruled that the county did not provide the public with enough notice about the meeting.

So now, the state board has halted the Mays Chapel plan.

"We at least have stopped them. At least put it out to the public and give a true input from the communities," Burch said.

Stopped them -- but perhaps not for long.  The county school board has scheduled another public meeting.

And this time, School Board President Lawrence Schmidt says quote: "We will be sure to provide sufficient and transparent notification to make sure all interested stakeholders are aware of the hearing date."

And while opponents say it's not a done deal, supporters who've been fighting overcrowding in county school say the state board's delay is nothing but a speed bump on the way to a new school.

"I don't sense that this will derail the project and it shouldn't.  "If a school system can't build a school that they show that they need on school system owned property, we're in a lot of trouble," said Cathi Forbes, from the group Towson Families United.

The next hearing on the mays chapel site is scheduled for the evening of January 14 th,  at Loch Raven High School.

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