Six of the Baltimore County Council’s seven members yesterday sent a memo to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz opposing his promise to build a new Dulaney High School, saying the decision should be made by the successive administration, according to multiple reports.
Echoing comments made earlier this week by District 1 Councilman Tom Quirk, the letter, posted here by WBAL-TV, questioned the fiscal implications of building a new school instead of renovating the existing one.
“We are very mindful of the pressing needs of Dulaney and other deserving schools, and we recognize the political landscape has changed,” the letter says. “But so, too, has the fiscal landscape, and we view it as our role to ensure that it is not made worse by last-minute, late-term decisions.”
Wade Kach, whose 3rd District includes the school, was the only council member to not sign the letter.
While touting their support for Kamenetz’s 2010 Schools for Our Future Plan, which set aside $1.3 billion for renovations and new construction, the lawmakers argued the county executive’s “sudden reversal” after years of saying a new Dulaney would be too costly “will put the County in a difficult financial situation.”
In a letter of his own, Kamenetz’s chief of staff, Donald Mohler, wrote that population growth of nearly 1,000 seats over the next decade has necessitated new schools for Towson and Dulaney.
Following Kamenetz’s change of heart, parents at Lansdowne High School in Halethorpe, which sits in Quirk’s district, feel they should get a new school too, according to The Sun.
“A year ago, the county executive said he wasn’t going to build a new high school at Dulaney,” Quirk told the paper. “If Dulaney deserves a new high school, Lansdowne deserves a new school.”
The school is slated for a $60 million renovation and currently faces structural problems similar to Dulaney’s, The Sun notes.
Mohler wrote in his letter that “no additional seats are needed in southwest area which includes Lansdowne High School.”
“However, we fully support an extensive renovation similar to the recent renovations at Pikesville and Hereford.”
Kamenetz is currently running in the Democratic primary for governor.