Baltimore County Digest

BALTIMORE COUNTY DIGEST

March 27, 2007

Senators pull back bill to alter school board, Baltimore County state senators have decided to forgo legislation this session that would have overhauled the school board selection process by creating a panel of 15 elected and appointed members.

An overriding concern, said Sen. Bobby A. Zirkin, was the size of the newly formed board, which would have added three members to what is already the state's largest school board.

Instead, Zirkin said, the delegation is planning to announce the formation of a work group that will be convened this summer to hold meetings across the county with parents and other community members to further gauge interest in revamping how the school board is selected. Zirkin said he and Del. James E. Malone Jr. will co-chair the work group.

"My commitment is to bring back a bill next year that will absolutely have some form of elected representation," Zirkin said. "We're moving toward greater consensus. But frankly, we didn't have the votes, and rather than plow something through this session, we decided to take a step back."

Zirkin's Senate Bill 82 would have created a board consisting of eight members appointed by the governor and seven who would be elected by County Council district. Recently, the Senate delegation voted overwhelmingly in favor of Zirkin's bill on the condition that it be amended to specify how to "phase out" by the 2010 election the four positions that are appointed at-large.

But with the session in its final weeks, Zirkin said the delegation decided to take more time to consider other options in addition to his bill, including a fully elected school board or a board made up of eight appointed members - one for each councilmanic district and a student representative - who would be required to seek election to remain on the board.

Gina Davis

Dundalk

Five-way roundabout finished

A traffic roundabout has been completed at a five-way intersection that serves as a gateway to the Watersedge and Turners Station communities in Dundalk.

The roundabout, at Dundalk Avenue, Liberty Parkway and Sollers Point Road, was recommended by an Urban Design Assistance Team that worked in Dundalk in 2001. It is designed to create a safer and more attractive entrance into the communities. Installing the roundabout allowed the county to remove traffic signals that once controlled an intersection that was considered awkward.

The $960,000 project also included new sidewalks, pedestrian ramps, brick paving accents, planting beds, trees, including some on Dundalk Avenue median, and road resurfacing. A sewer main there was rebuilt for $613,000 before work started, because it likely would have been damaged by construction equipment.

Pikesville

Game store robber sought

County police were searching for a gunman who robbed a video game store in Pikesville, authorities said yesterday.

A man robbed a Game Stop store in the 8000 block of Liberty Road shortly before 9 p.m. March 17. The robber was described as a black man, about 20 to 25 years old, 5 feet 9 inches tall with a medium build. Police said his hair was in cornrows, and he wore a black, zippered hooded jacket and sweat pants, a black stocking cap and white high-top shoes.

Anyone with information is asked to call county police at 410-307-2020 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7-LOCKUP.

Nick Shields

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