Mays Chapel residents say 'no' to new school
Baltimore County school officials were short on answers, and the obviously unhappy --- and at least mildly hostile --- crowd of about 250 Mays Chapel residents who packed the auditorium last night at Dulaney High School in Timonium had an ample supply of frustration.
I'm working on a story for tomorrow's paper about the residents who came to the meeting hoping to get answers to concerns they have about an idea to build a school for special-education students on a parcel of land the school system has long owned, but which is home to a park that many in the community say they don't want to lose.
In addition to losing the park space, residents said they worry about the increased traffic from school buses and staff members for the new school in an area that they say is already congested. Many seemed downright indignant that the school system --- which has owned the land since 1972 --- would suddenly want to use it.
With each response that amounted to a "we don't know" from school officials, residents grew openly irritated, and about 45 minutes into the meeting several began leaving.
"We're leaving because they're not giving us any answers," said Cynthia Brown, who lives in the Roundwood Ridge condos.
School officials acknowledged that they had few answers, in part because they have yet to do a feasibility study.
"They had this meeting way too soon, they don't know anything," complained Sid Caplan, as he walked out of the auditorium.
Many figured that the hastily planned meeting had been scheduled because school officials were learning about the mounting opposition. In recent days, petitions had been circulating throughout the community.
School officials say building a school in Mays Chapel could help them alleviate crowding at other schools, particularly in the central area of the county. Residents insist that surely the school system has other properties they haven't considered that wouldn't disrupt their community.
"We're not opposed to the school, we just don't have space for it here," was a commonly heard refrain.
These kinds of "community needs" vs. "school system needs" scenarios play out in neighborhoods across the region and the country all the time. Is there a middle ground?