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City principal protests new school proposed for Canton

The recommendation to open a new elementary/middle school in Canton is drawing opposition from the community and the popular charter school that would be its neighbor.

The proposed school, which would serve pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, was part of a large-scale plan rolled out by Interim CEO Tisha Edwards earlier this month.

The plan would open a new school to alleviate overcrowding in Southeast Baltimore schools, Edwards said, while also moving a current school -- Friendship Academy of Science and Technology middle/high school -- whose students have been causing a stir in the community.

The new school wouldn't be built for three years. School officials said the schools in the Southeast region are currently operating at 112 percent capacity.

But Matt Hornbeck, the principal of Hampstead Hill Academy, is urging his community to voice their concerns about the impact the new school could have on Hampstead Hill, which is run by the Baltimore Curriculum Project and located in Patterson Park.

"Our school community might be negatively impacted by a change to our attendance area and/or a change in our student enrollment," Hornbeck wrote in a letter to the community that can be viewed here. "We don’t want to lose any of our families! Any reduction in enrollment could negatively impact our budget making it harder to provide a quality school for our students, and far less likely that we could expand our building as planned."

He said his school community's message to the school board is: "Do NOT vote for the recommendation for a new school in Canton without a detailed proposal and without more information."

He said that the board should also vote separately on what to do with FAST.

The school board will hold a ppublic hearing on the proposal, and others, Dec. 10. It is scheduled to vote on the plan Dec. 17.


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