School Reorganization Could Lead to New Police Precinct

The plan involving Eastwood and Norwood Elementary Schools and Holabird Middle School appears tied to possible sale of government land for redevelopment.

UPDATED (1:29 a.m.)—Parents at two Dundalk Elementary Schools learned Monday night of a plan that will close one school and possibly lead to the building of a new police station.

The plan involving Eastwood and Norwood Elementary and Holabird Middle schools appears tied to an expected proposal from County Executive Kevin Kamenetz to sell county property for redevelopment.

Kevin Hobbs, Baltimore County Public Schools deputy superintendent, told about 150 people gathered Monday night in the cafeteria of Holabird Middle that Eastwood Elementary would be closed at the end of the current school year.

Hobbs said the Eastwood building will become "the property of the county." He declined to elaborate on what the potential uses might be.

Multiple sources speaking to Patch on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the details confirmed that one possible use for the site could involve building a new police precinct. The county appears to be ready to solicit bids to sell the current site at the North Point Government Center.

Hobbs and other school officials spoke of two options to merge the three schools during a meeting at Holabird Middle School Monday night.

One proposal includes moving kindergarten through third grade students at the two elementary schools to Norwood Elementary.

Students in grades 4 and 5 at both elementary schools would be moved to Holabird Middle School.

A second plan calls for pre-K through grade five program at Norwood with a STEM focus, and create a first of its kind in Baltimore County kindergarten through eighth grade STEM magnet program at Holabird.

The current Eastwood Elementary School site would then become a possible location for a new police precinct in the area. It is not clear what would happen to the magnet program at Eastwood Elementary.

The current precinct is part of the North Point Government Center.

That site is said to be one of three properties owned by the county that are being considered for possible sale to developers.

John Vontran, political supporter of Kamenetz and Councilman John Olszewski Sr., was interested in a land swap that would have allowed him to build big box retailers on the North Point Government Center site while moving county offices to the site of the former Seagram's Distillery.

Del. Mike Weir Jr. said Monday evening that he understood Eastwood Elementary could be one possible site of a new police precinct. He said Eastwood had seen some reduced enrollment that might make it ripe for reorganization.

Parents attending the meeting at Holabird Middle School Monday night expressed dismay over the proposals.

Last week, Patch reported that Kamenetz planned to sell the site of the Towson Fire Station and build a new station on what is now the site of Towson Manor Park in Towson.

A third site in the northwest is also said to be part of that redevelopment list and could include either the former site of a vehicle maintenance shop or the Woodlawn police substation. Both locations are on Liberty Road.

Don Mohler, a spokesman for County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, did not respond to a request for comment Monday night.

In an interview last week, Mohler would neither confirm nor deny the plans last week.

"The county executive has been pretty open about the fact that he's tasked his staff to find parcels of county-owned properties that are on valuable pieces of land in commercial corridors and see if there might be a better use for them," Mohler said at the time, adding that part of the plan could include getting those county-owned properties on the tax rolls.

In a story published early Tuesday morning, Kamenetz confirmed to the Baltimore Sun the plan to seek buyers for the properties.

Read More:

  • Parents Upset With Proposed 'Merger' of Three Schools
  • Hobbs: Dundalk School Reorganization Not Indicative of Countywide Trend

Nayana Davis contributed to this report.

PeggyMuhl December 11, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Obviously, Kamenetz isn't looking for re-election and could care less about real people and the success of our youths. Taking away parks and schools! What message does that send. It is all about the almighty dollar. p
Sam Battle December 11, 2012 at 01:48 AM
These dang CROOKS you all put in office tells you stories about PROTECTING our kids on one side of their mouths and on the other side closes schools and sells the land ???? Makes any sense, but then they are spending millions a year and taking tons of police of the streets to control a growing sex offenders list that has not been proven to PROTECT nobody to date and is hardly used other then nosey people with no life , as if it was working they would expand it to include other typs of violent offenders to protect more people...SO yes kill the useless list and use the money to SAVE OUR SCHOOLS before it is too late. The worse part is closing EASTWOOD as it is a magnet school that a person close to me attends and has helped them to no end with learning and most coming from there to the next level is better prepared to move on. SO protect our kids SCHOOLS first...If they need a location for another useless police station ?? How about some of these empty shopping centers or lots that are a eye sore and magnet for homeless and crime and rebuild a police station there and save a area from the dirt / gloom and crime in these empty and unused areas and SAVE the SCHOOLS that are already overcrowded..HEY you all voted them in office so pat yourselfs on the back before the knife gets you there.
O.B. December 11, 2012 at 01:56 AM
the meeting lasted 50 minutes and their were nothing but open ended statements the school officials left it to the three princibles to take the hit of questions which they danced all over they know exacty what motion will take place it will be option b where there be addition 21 centry eqipment moved in to holibird which is way behind schedule for such when they mentioned the younger students mixing in with the elder ones they plan to isolate the young ones to the upper section of the school for themselves times and class changes were mentioed but really not finallize
JD1 December 11, 2012 at 01:56 AM
This is a BAD idea for so many reasons I can't even believe its on the table. I have definitely lost faith in all of our leaders.
jim December 11, 2012 at 02:15 AM
MMF December 11, 2012 at 02:47 AM
I am pissed and I am a Parent of a Eastwood Student!!! We are being told two options and which option they go with will be decided by having focus groups with parents and staff and that the selling of the Eastwood Building is already set in stone and at the end of this year it will no one be Eastwood!!! I have so many bad emotions about this I do not even know where to begin to even post it to make sense how I feel about either option at this point!!
MMF December 11, 2012 at 02:52 AM
A.S. December 11, 2012 at 03:28 AM
I am not happy about any of this. I don't understand why these school figures wasted everyones time calling us to a meeting, telling us to attend to ask questions and voice concerns, to basically answer a handful of questions and tell peole to write questions down on an index card and they'll try to get them answered! How can you drop a bombshell like this and. not expect a lot of questions???? Then to only have this "meeting" last for 50 minutes!!! I do not want my child going to school with middle school kids before his time to be in middle school. Why must they disrupt two schools because of another school's location closing? Is there no other place they could relocate Eastwood to to keep it an individual school??? These princials are not ready to handle something this major. They are in way over their heads. And besides that, does anyone really think they really care what us as parents think???? I don't think so!
kevin December 11, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Joe Bartenfelder Please come back ,We Are Sorry !!!!!
MMF December 11, 2012 at 03:58 AM
I agree with A.S. above... Also once they rebuild to make Eastwood Larger to hold more students they could use taxpayers money and casino money which is suppose to be used for Education towards more technology and programs for Eastwood that they said Norwood and Holabird will offer our Eastwood Students without having to put them with Middle School students before they are emotionally and socially ready to handle that. They could add more staff if needed and add the Stem Program into the school with more staff able to teach it.
carroll reid jr. December 11, 2012 at 04:34 AM
hello baltimore county. you thought dr. harrison was so bad he was fighting this. that is part of the reason he retired. new superintendent no experince see what we got. man in the pocket. way to go.
I LOVE Towson December 11, 2012 at 05:27 AM
While this meeting was going on and you all were spending your valuable time, expressing your concerns over this serious issue I happened to be sitting at a restaurant with Kamenetz and his family at the next table. How carefree he appeared to be as he stuffed his face with cake and took pics of his precious family, celebrating his sons b-day. Judging from his demeanor no one is trying to steal his kids playground or force them to age prematurely by forcing them into a middle school. Karma's a B&*^% Mr. Kamenentz. You should be so proud of the great example you are setting for your children.
Christine James December 11, 2012 at 05:58 AM
This is shameful!!! Close a school to make money. How about give more money to the schools. Teacher raises..ect.. I thought that's why they wanted question 7. Money for schools but look they are closing the only magnet elementary schools locally. My children attend this school and what I heard in the meeting tonight makes me sick!!!! This school also had a special education program for children with a lot of other needs. Children who have Down syndrome and others with other needs like this. And guess what that program is being done away with. It will not be carried over to the other two schools Holiabird or Norwood. My son is 8 yrs old and they want to put him with middle school kids. That is just wrong. After this year with guns in our high and middle schools. Why in the world would you want to put little children with kids this much older. I'm sooo angry about this. Also Norwood is over capacity. They are teaching out of trailers! This is a fact. This guy is an idiot. He don't care about our children's education. As long as it looks good on paper and all about the money is what he cares about! I will be calling our politicians. And I will not be the only one!!!!!
PerryHallParent December 11, 2012 at 11:02 AM
They have these "public meetings" to placate the public. The decision was made long ago and no matter what is said, things will progress as THEY have already intended. These meetings are such a joke. They try to make us think we have all this input. Yet people keep voting the same lunatics in every time, then wonder why things are so horrible.
Joe December 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM
The vast majority of people in America went to schools where 1-8 grades in the same building.
Pride in Dundalk December 11, 2012 at 01:26 PM
The community opposed the trading of the North Point Government Center for the Seagram’s Property because all the community programs housed in the this building would be shut down and all the athletic teams that used the fields would be displaced (the size difference between the two properties is too dissimilar to accommodate these programs and athletics from to the Seagram’s property), not to mention the property has one of the largest green open spaces in Dundalk and borders Lynch Cove Run Stream. Dundalk already has one of the highest levels of non-permeable surfaces in Baltimore County and they want to make more. From my experience in commercial real-estate I can tell you chances of a big box retailer moving into area now occupied by the North Point Government Center space are very slim. Dundalk does not have a high enough median income to attract this type of retail establishment currently (We have at least four nearly empty shopping centers a big box retailer could move into immediately if they were actually interested). Additionally, our close proximity to the Target in Middle River negates Dundalk from being a candidate to this particular chain. What a sad day for the children of Dundalk and the environment....
Calm down December 11, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Wow, you are a bitter human being. I for one am glad we elect human beings who prioritize wholesome family values than the callous Stepford qualities that you seem to advocate.
M. Sullivan December 11, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I guess the masses that took down the pampered French monarchy were a bunch of "bitter human beings" also, eh Calm? Good image, ILT!
Raymond Saunders December 11, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Our communuity is fighitng a similar top down decision to replace our neighborhood park with a fire station. How are these related? Both uphevals are crisis being created unnecessarily by elected officials who are proposing to sell publicly owned land to private developers. The rumored buyer? WaWa. Representatives from our community were told that it was important that all three sites be put out for bid at the same time - so we know Towson, we know Dundalk, but who is next? Keep the pressure on these people! Write and call your councilman and Executive Kamenetz! kevin@baltimorecountymd.gov 410-887-2450
Robert Frisch December 11, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Kamenetz wants to strengthen his own control over the school board by opposing legislation that would allow the voters to elect school board members.
Robert Frisch December 11, 2012 at 03:05 PM
This is a clear example why the citizens of Baltimore County need an elected school board - something Kamenetz vehemently opposes. Now you see why.
Raymond Saunders December 11, 2012 at 03:27 PM
The facebook page Save Towson Manor Park has been stated to oppose these moves. Someone from the area near these schools should do something similar. It was also pretty easy to set up an online petition at change.org. (If you'd like to sign ours, there is a link on the facebook page!) I will definitely support efforts to oppose this heavy-handedness from our elected officials - let me know how!
Elizabeth Friend December 11, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Ok ! How damn stupid can these people be , really closing SCHOOLS how many schools can you close before there are NO SCHOOLS !! Than where will these children get their EDUCATION but let's remember the police will have a new police station . There are buildings that are empty that could be used for whatever it is that they want to build and leave our SCHOOLS alone . It's already hard enough for the children to get the EDUCATION they deserve because of the lack of supplies , why not give the money to the schools and keep them OPEN instaed of using the money to knock the school down to build a police station wake up as I said use a building that is empty already that would make more danm sense would it not . To put these kid's in schools that already have to use trailers because the school has to many kid's in it is dumb as hell , to put 4th and 5th grader's in a middle school please they are to young and their social skills are different then that of a middle school student do they not understand that and 1,2,3, grades are going to have trouble mixing in with others because of their ages and what will happen to the teachers they already have gotten to know , for real have we forgot that the furture are these children . Over filling these school has already been proven not to WORK . Let's band together as the family we are at EASTWOOD ELEM. and stand up for the EDUCATION of our CHILDREN and their FURTURE they need use to stand up for them and be their VOICE ....
John Public December 11, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I guess the fireworks would have to find a new home?
Bejacker December 11, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Is this the John Vontran that filed for personal bankruptcy in 2010? Interesting... "Yorkway Developer Files for Chapter 7 Liquidation Bankruptcy trustee accuses John Vontran of ‘gross mismanagement’ and providing ‘inaccurate and incomplete information.’ Effect on ambitious Dundalk development project remains uncertain, though work continues, a published report says."
Bejacker December 11, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Is this the same Jon Vontran that filed personal bankruptcy Chapter 7, Dec, 2010? If yes, is he going to do the ethical and moral thing of paying back all creditors, both personal and business debts owed if in fact he filed per personal bankruptcy?
Raymond Saunders December 11, 2012 at 07:30 PM
And will Executive Kamenetz do the ethical and moral thing and return the $4000 in campaign contributions received from the Vontran family in 2010 and 2011? Or the $2000 contributed by Yorkway Capital in 2010? Just to avoid any appearance of impropriety, you know? This follow the money stuff is pretty fun! https://campaignfinancemd.us/Public/ViewReceipts?theme=vista Receiving Committee = Kamenetz and voila!
Cheryl Leach-Harazin December 11, 2012 at 09:26 PM
How coincidental I love Towson too. Maybe Mr. Kamenentz's children love spending there Birthday with there father, mother & siblings. So are his children suppose to miss out on there special days because there father chose a public service career? I certainly don't agree with all of his politics, nor his political decisions, but I do agree that he should be "stuffing his face with cake & taking picture's of his precious family (as ur family is precious to you, do u think his are any less precious to him & his wife???). His children should be proud that despite his high profile career he was there for them when it counted. I'll bet that if you knew that he wasn't there for his son's birthday u would publiclically crucify him for that as well. I hope that ur embitteredness will lessen through the holidays, as this is a special time for what our families are about. Just remember these words,& let them resonate this Holiday & see if ur heart will grow 3 size's this Holiday of Love. "Your a MEAN ONE, Ms. Towson.. You really are a HEEL. Your as cuddly as a cactus, & as CHARMING AS AN EEL, Your a bad banana with a greasy black peel." A truism by Theodore Geisel.
Raymond Saunders December 11, 2012 at 09:46 PM
I hope Mr. Kamenetz enjoys many more birthday dinners with his family, and I hope my kids and my neighbors' kids enjoy the park for years to come, and I hope the Eastwood families enjoy a safe, quality education in their neighborhood school. Let's not take anything away from anyone.
Tom December 11, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Go to Facebook and like the Support Eastwood Elementary Magnet school page. Post and let your voice be heard!!!!


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