Board hears of school woes in Baltimore Co.


Baltimore County educators and school board members listened to a litany of ills afflicting old and crowded schools as county residents appealed for repairs, additions and new schools during last night's capital budget hearing.

Parents, teachers and principals told of inadequate bathrooms, bad lighting, outdated wiring, crowded classrooms and malfunctioning heating systems that freeze students in one area while overheating others.

The story was the same regardless of the location. Groups from Dulaney High School in the central area, Martin Boulevard Elementary in the southeast and Franklin Middle and Elementary schools in the northwest were among those bringing similar reports and asking for relief.

"Technology arrived in Catonsville in 1954 and has not changed since," Carol Phillips, president of the PTSA at Catonsville High School, said during her plea for a major renovation to that school.

"Overcrowding is a safety issue at Dulaney. It's a human issue," said Dulaney Principal Richard Gudel. "We are the most overcrowded school in Baltimore County."

With an official capacity of 1,204, the school in Timonium has an enrollment of 1,687 in the early days of this school year, a Dulaney supporter said.

More than 250 people attended the hearing, and about three dozen spoke in support of more than a dozen projects.

The board will vote Tuesday on a list of priorities for this year and on the projects to be included in the fiscal 1997 capital plan, which covers building and renovations from July 1996 through June 1998. The board has nearly $50 million in state and county funds to spend this year, and intends to ask for $54 million in funds in its 1997 spending plan.

The largest contingent at last night's hearing sought to save the former Catonsville Middle School on Bloomsbury Avenue, a vacant 70-year-old building. About 50 supporters attended the hearing, and about a dozen asked the board to renovate the school rather than raze it for a new elementary school.

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