Baltimore County Board of Education narrowly affirms support for replacing Towson, Dulaney high schools

Baltimore County school board doubled down Tuesday night on a plan to replace Towson and Dulaney high schools following a heated debate among the elected leaders, school system staff and community members.

School board members voted 6-5 in favor of amending a capital improvements budget request to the state in order to include the total replacement of the aging schools. Rod McMillion, Moalie Jose, Cheryl Pasteur, Erin Hager and Makeda Scott voted against the amendment. The student member of the 12-person board is not permitted to vote on budgetary matters.


Board members later voted unanimously to approve the amended budget request that is due annually to the state of Maryland in October.

Capital improvements to public school buildings are typically funded through a combination of state and county money. The board’s proposal will next head to the Maryland Interagency Commission on School Construction for consideration. Separately, county officials will consider funding for the projects based in part on how much the state decides to award.


In a statement, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. said his administration will carefully review the school board’s submission to the state along with a final report expected from an outside consultant this fall as the county begins its annual budget process.

The Evening Sun

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“Together, I am confident that we can collaboratively develop the best path forward to responsibly and equitably provide world-class schools in every community across Baltimore County,” Olszewski said in the statement.

Towson and Dulaney have long provoked feuding and competition for funding among Baltimore County communities and the elected officials who represent them. The school system and county hired consulting firm CannonDesign to develop a master plan for school construction over the next 15 years with an emphasis on spreading limited local and state funds equitably across Baltimore County.

However, the consultants stunned Towson and Dulaney advocates with a recommendation to renovate, not replace, the two buildings — a trade-off they asserted would allow the school system to complete dozens of other projects at more than 40 other schools. And the consultants’ analysis of a county-wide community survey found that respondents overwhelmingly supported an equitable distribution of funds across the school system.

Still, some advocates for Towson and Dulaney schools say that a total rebuild is the common sense decision that is estimated to cost an additional $32 million, a small fraction of the total capital improvements budget expected over the next 15 years. And newer buildings, they say, could accommodate population growth and possibly generate lower utility bills in the years to come.

Questions and debate during the school board meeting Tuesday evening turned bitter at times, with some board members raising their voices toward one another or staff. The tone of the meeting elicited a rare admonishment from Superintendent Darryl L. Williams, who reminded the board that the recommendations came from a third party and not from school system staff.

“Sometimes your questions can be a little biting,” Williams said.

This article will be updated.