School board schedules closure hearings

January 26, 2007|By Sara Neufeld | Sara Neufeld,sun reporter

The Baltimore school board has scheduled a series of hearings for public comment on proposed school closures.

The board will also accept written feedback through Feb. 19. It is scheduled to vote Feb. 27 on proposals to close, phase out or relocate 10 schools:

Pimlico Middle and Thomas G. Hayes Elementary would close this summer. The Hayes building would be used temporarily to house students from Dunbar Middle School, while students from Dunbar High occupy Dunbar Middle during a major renovation of their building.

Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts would move into the Harlem Park complex this summer after closure of the Southwestern high school complex. Harlem Park Middle, previously scheduled to close in 2008, might close a year early, with remaining students transferred to Calverton Middle.

Canton, Hamilton, Lombard and Thurgood Marshall middle schools would stop accepting new sixth-grade classes and close in the summer of 2009.

Southeast Middle would close in the summer of 2008.

A small alternative school in the Dr. Lillie M. Jackson special-education facility would move to Hilton Elementary. Villa Maria School, which leases space from the school system to provide contracted special-education services in the building, would then lease the space from the city government.

Lafayette Elementary would merge with neighbor Calverton Middle, becoming Calverton Elementary/Middle School.

As a result of the changes, 12 elementary schools would begin adding sixth grade this summer to convert to combined elementary/middle schools, eventually serving prekindergarten through eighth grade.

Another 16 elementary schools that added sixth-grade classes this school year would continue their expansion by adding seventh grade over the summer.

Twenty-one schools would add prekindergarten classes.

This is the second of three years of expected school closures in Baltimore.

In the fall of 2005, with room in the city schools for 125,000 students and fewer than 85,000 enrolled, the school board voted to reduce operating space by 15 percent over three years.

A hearing on east-side closures and relocations -- Canton, Hamilton, Lombard, Marshall, Southeast and Hayes -- will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 10 at the Lake Clifton high school campus, 2801 St. Lo Drive.

A hearing on west-side closures and relocations -- Pimlico, Savage, Jackson and Lafayette -- will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 14 at Frederick Douglass High, 2301 Gwynns Falls Parkway.

A hearing on all proposals will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at Polytechnic Institute, 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane.

If any hearing is postponed because of inclement weather, a makeup date has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 17 at Poly.

sara.neufeld@baltsun.com

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