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Councilwoman Anticipates 'Good News' on School Sites

Courtney Watson, who represents Elkridge on the County Council, said she expects resolution on school site issues in the next couple of weeks.

 

Councilwoman Courtney Watson told constituents at the Greater Elkridge Community Association (GECA) last week that news should be coming soon about Elkridge school projects that are currently in limbo.

“We should know something by the beginning of February,” said Watson, D-Elkridge/Ellicott City, at the Jan. 26 GECA meeting.

Elementary and middle schools in the Elkridge area will be overcrowded in the next two years, according to enrollment projections from the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS).

As a result, the Howard County Board of Education has approved elementary and middle school sites for building new schools; however, both sites face challenges.

The elementary school site——is currently  over a lien on the property. That school is supposed to open in 2013.

“The school board is working on alternatives to the Ducketts Lane site in the event that the deal there cannot be worked out,” said Watson.

The middle school site——is near what could become a train-truck depot called an . The middle school is slated to open by fall 2014.

Watson's comments about the schools came the same week that the Board of Education removed discussion about middle and elementary school sites from the with the County Council.

Council chair Mary Kay Sigaty (D-Columbia) told Patch in an email after the Jan. 24 meeting: “The item on school sites was originally on the agenda for an update, but because there was no new information to be discussed, it was removed.”

Ken Roey, director of facilities for HCPSS, told Patch in person after the meeting that he would "comment at the appropriate time."

When asked on Jan. 30 whether there was anything new to report, Sigaty said: "I am still unaware of any new information."

Watson clarified the news she was referring to in an email Monday, stating that "the judge was supposed to rule on the court case on Ducketts and HCPSS should have some news soon."

The Circuit Court of Howard County granted an injunction on behalf of HCPSS earlier this month so that the seller, Ducketts Ridge LLC, could not sell the land to anyone else.

Board of Education chair Sandra French emailed Patch on Jan. 31 with the following report: "We have a closed meeting tonight at 6:15 p.m. No comments further."

Watson told Elkridge residents that she remained optimistic.

“We hope we’re going to have good news in the end of January or early February," said Watson at the GECA meeting, "so stay tuned.”

This article has been updated at 4:25 p.m. on Jan. 31 to reflect that school board chair Sandra French emailed Patch to say there would be a closed meeting.

Jack January 31, 2012 at 04:18 PM
No reference to the community being involved?????? No one blindly hands the future of their children over to anyone. As we look further south on route 1 we see this problem repeated again. The hcpss needs to embrace the public or relocate to a communist country where at least there is no illusion of reality. Jack
JBateman February 01, 2012 at 01:32 AM
I don't have anything nice to say, so I will refrain from saying anything.
Ann Delacy February 01, 2012 at 12:05 PM
I'm with you, Jack. "Board of Education chair Sandra French emailed Patch on Jan. 31 with the following report: 'We have a closed meeting tonight at 6:15 p.m. No comments further.'" The lack of transparency, community involvement and the resistance to input from classroom teachers are all issues that led to my candidacy for the Board of Education. Howard County Public Schools belong to the people not just to our politicians and Central Office elite.
S.S. in Elkridge February 06, 2012 at 08:44 PM
At this point, I am neither of fan of anyone on the BOE nor Ms. Watson.

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