Jul 29, 2014
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State Board of Ed Strikes Down Mays Chapel School Site Approval

The Baltimore County Board of Education's decision to make Mays Chapel Park the site of a new 700-seat elementary school has been overturned. Another hearing has been scheduled for January.

UPDATED (12:05 p.m.)—The Maryland State Board of Education has reversed the decision made by the Baltimore County Board of Education to make Mays Chapel Park the site of a new elementary school.

The Baltimore County Board of Education violated state law regarding legal notice requirements for a March 19 site selection hearing, the conclusion of the legal opinion reads. Specifically, BCPS did not publish in a newspaper the location and time for a hearing take took place on March 19.

"It is a victory for all of us opposed to the construction of a 700 student elementary school on the Mays Chapel Park site," Whistler Burch, chairman of the Save Mays Chapel Park community group." The reasons are many, as you have heard.  We as a group are not against the students, but feel strongly that there are many alternatives that make more sense both for the children, the Baltimore [County] Board of Education, and economically for the taxpayers of Baltimore County."

The Baltimore County Board of Education announced Wednesday that another hearing will be held on Jan. 14, 2013 at 6 p.m. at Loch Raven High School.

“We look forward to giving the community another opportunity to provide input on the proposed Mays Chapel Elementary School. We will be sure to provide sufficient and transparent notification to make sure all interested stakeholders are aware of the hearing date, which has been set for 6:00pm, January 14, 2013, at Loch Raven High School,” Larry Schmidt, BCPS Board president, wrote in a statement.

“We will notify the public through the required notification tools such as public notices in local newspapers, but we will also go above and beyond that by making sure we use our own communication tools including the website, BCPS-TV, and press releases to the media,” he continued.

The Board did not dispute that a legal notice was not published in a newspaper, however, according to the state's decision, "the local board argues that it has substantially compiled with the statutory provision because many interested individuals had actual notice."

UPDATE (12:45 p.m.)—The document sites a March 6 Board of Education meeting where the March 19 hearing was announced. That meeting however concluded without an official location or time. About 100 people concerned about the new school were present at that meeting.

BCPS published details about the hearing at Loch Raven High School the following day, March 7, in a press release. The Board also pointed to various print, online and broadcast media outlets who publicized the meeting via reports over the course of two weeks.

State law requires that at least 10 days notice be given, and printed at least once in a general circulation newspaper.


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