11:15 AM EDT, March 19, 2012
Residents who both oppose and support construction of a new, 700-seat elementary school at Mays Chapel park are expected to come out tonight — Monday, March 19 — when the Baltimore County Board of Education hosts a public meeting to gather input on the proposed school.
The school board's hearing on construction of the new school will be held beginning 6 p.m., at Loch Raven High School, 1212 Cowpens Ave, Towson.
Sign-up for those wishing to speak begins at 5 p.m. Each speaker will be allotted three minutes.
The park is a 20-acre tract off West Padonia Road. School officials have said that 5 to 10 acres would used for the new school.
Neighbors say they're concerned about the loss of open space in their community, and have stated at recent hearings that they believe few children will attend the school directly from their neighborhood.
Residents of the Towson area, however, have advocated for the school at Mays Chapel, noting that the county purchased the property years ago as a future school site.
Officials say a school is needed to alleviate overcrowding in elementary schools throughout the York Road corridor, including Riderwood, West Towson, Padonia, Pot Spring, Lutherville, Pinewood, Warren and Timonium.
The school system projects that by 2014, when a new school could potentially be completed, eight schools in the York Road corridor will have a combined student population of 4,370 — or 893 over the schools' state-rated capacity.
At the school board's most recent meeting on March 6, members board granted a "preliminary approval" for the school — but postponed a final vote until after a public meeting could be held.
After Monday's hearing, the board is expected to make a decision on the property at its next meeting, on Tuesday, March 20.