Motion to Consider Middle River high school site Fails

A new high school is planned to address northeast school overcrowding but Fifth District Councilman David Marks, Fifth District Board Member Julie Henn and others are critical as the proposed site is not in the northeast.

The current plan calls to expand the current site at Loch Raven High School.

Henn introduced a motion at Tuesday night’s Board meeting to pause finalizing the location of a planned new northeast area high school at the present central area Loch Raven High site – pending consideration of a northeast location.

The motion called for the study of a 40-acre tract of land in Middle River, proposed to be dedicated to Baltimore County for the construction of a new school. The Middle River site is the old “LaFarge Quarry” at 633 Earls Road.

“I greatly appreciate the Council’s efforts to acquire this land for a new school and thank Councilman David Marks for urging the school system to act on the opportunity,” stated Henn.

“We should absolutely consider all options and determine what’s best for the students and families impacted. The central and northeast areas both need high school seats. But one solution doesn’t fit all. Each area deserves the right project – and smart investment.”

The new northeast area high school is listed as a priority project for funding in the Board’s FY2024 County Capital Budget Request. Currently, the school system proposes a replacement of Loch Raven High School (on the Loch Raven site) in the central area as the solution to address northeast high school overcrowding at four northeast high schools: Kenwood, Overlea, Parkville and Perry Hall.

Board Member Henn’s motion asked the Board to approve a previous request of the County Council asking the school system to review the Middle River property as a potential site for the school and to bring a recommendation for the Board’s and Council’s consideration.

“I would like to thank School Board member Julie Henn and her colleagues who are working in partnership with the County Council,” commented Councilman David Marks.

Six votes are required for Board action on budget items. The student member is ineligible to vote. The motion failed for lack of one vote. Board Members Maggie Domanowski, Henn, Russ Kuehn, Rod McMillion, and Christina Pumphrey voted in favor.

The Board will vote on the FY2024 County Capital Budget Request on January 24. The Council will vote on the resolution on January 17.

The motion read as follows:

WHEREAS The County Council enacted Resolution 39-22 stating that the Planned Unit Development (“PUD”) applicant for the redevelopment of a site out of a larger tract of land commonly known as the “LaFarge Quarry” shall provide a dedication of land in fee to Baltimore County, of which a 40 acre portion is to be used for the construction of a vocational school; and,

WHEREAS The County Council is expected to enact Resolution 1-23 requesting that Baltimore County Public Schools (“BCPS”) begin the review of the suitability of land proposed to be dedicated to the County as outlined in Resolution 39-22 as quickly as practicable for use as a vocational school; and

WHEREAS The recent Northeast Area High School study did not include a survey of this location;

IT IS THEREFORE MOVED that the FY2024 County Capital Budget Request be amended on line 7 by deleting the words “Loch Raven” from the ‘Northeast Area High’ project description and replacing the ‘C’ under Area with ‘TBD’; and,

IT IS FURTHER MOVED that the Board direct the Superintendent to have staff conduct a study on the site as outlined in Council Resolution 39-22 and prepare a recommendation to be shared with the Board and County Council.”

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