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baltimoresun.com

Dundalk parents fight plan to move Eastwood Elementary

Alison Knezevich

3:57 PM EST, December 21, 2012

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Dundalk parents are trying to stop a county plan that would displace students at Eastwood Center Elementary School, a magnet program they say provides a unique experience for young children.

Under a proposal by Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, certain government properties in the county would be sold for private development.  The plan includes selling the North Point Government Center in Dundalk, a move that would make the police precinct there relocate to the building that now houses the Eastwood school.

School officials have presented parents with two scenarios. Under the first option, Eastwood, Norwood Elementary, and Holabird Middle would merge to become one school with two buildings. The school would be called Holabird STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] Academy and include a lower and upper school.

The second option would have Holabird Middle and Eastwood Elementary merge to create a STEM magnet in one building.  

Parents aren’t happy about either option. They attended a county school board meeting this week to complain.

“The way its being put to us is, it's a done deal,” said Eric Williams, whose daughter attends the school. “And it's just not fair…We feel betrayed. We feel this was a political agenda you all had been aware of for months.”

Another father, Dan Ricci, called the school “a hidden gem among the public schools.”

“I feel like I was left out of the process,” he said. “Certainly something unethical and unprofessional must have happened.”

Some  described the small school as “a family,” calling the students and staff tight-knit.

In a statement, Superintendent Dallas Dance said he has asked school staff to communicate with the community.

 “As stated from the beginning, no final decisions on the instructional programs have been made, and we will continue to solicit input from the public,” he said.

Dance said the two options “were developed collaboratively by our principals, however, they are not the only options. “

“We welcome additional options and I look forward to the final recommendations,” he said. “I encourage the community to continue to work with the principals to find solutions that will provide the best educational environment for all children.”