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Plan For Crowded Elementary Schools: Middle School

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BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) —The Baltimore County Executive has a plan when it comes to curbing overcrowded elementary schools. But as Gigi Barnett reports, some parents say it’s a short-term fix.

Several trailers line the schoolyard at Stoneleigh Elementary in Baltimore County. The overcrowding forced school leaders to bring them in. Now County Executive Kevin Kamenetz wants them out.

His plan: move fourth- and fifth-graders to middle schools.

“We have this excess availability of classroom space,” Kamenetz said. “Why not make use of that empty school space?”

Kamenentz says the county doesn’t have the cash to build bigger, better additions at several overcrowded elementary schools like Stoneleigh.

“It’s a very frightening proposal for my 9-year-old son and for myself,” said Juliet Fisher, parent.

Fisher’s two children attend Stoneleigh Elementary. She says Kamenetz’s plan will eventually cause overcrowding at middle schools.

“They wouldn’t be separated out from the older children,” Fisher said. “I don’t know how they would have the right teachers there to teach them the things that they need. There’s no playground there. I just don’t think it’s an appropriate and safe place for 9, 10 and 11-year-olds.”

But the county executive says parents will have to wait for years before the state’s budget allows more building.

“Trying to get these kids as opposed to being in trailers or really what could be even if were able to start this process today, we’re talking four years,” Kamenetz said.

Kamenetz says right now his plan is only a recommendation, and he’s asked the school district to consider it.

School leaders say they will have a finished report on the matter at the March 22 school board meeting.

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