Parents fight for funds to build new Towson High School

Posted at 5:55 PM, May 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-24 18:00:01-04

Local parents and community members are speaking out about the urgent need for a new Towson High School by 2022 and they’re bringing their concerns to the Baltimore County Board of Education Wednesday night.

Some of the issues being discussed are the fire safety and health issues. According to a fire inspection completed almost two weeks ago, there are unsafe conditions due to water leaking on the building’s main electrical panels. The building’s generator is also out of service due to repairs.

“These things aren’t just concerns. They’re health hazards for the kids,” said Steve Prumo. “I think this adds to the case that Towson needs planning money to deal with the issue.”

Prumo helped start Towson’s “New in 22”. It’s a group of parents and other community members working to convince Baltimore County officials to allocate funding to start plans for a new high school.

Towson High School was built in 1949, making it one of the oldest schools in the county. According to members of “New in 22”, there are currently no plans for the Baltimore County Public School District to address the building’s inadequacies.

“I can’t comprehend the state that the physical building has fallen into over the last many years,” said Gretchen Maneval. “It needed an overhaul when I was there and when I graduated in 1992.”

Maneval graduated from Towson High School almost 25 years ago. With two small boys, she had plans of them following in her footsteps at her Alma Mater. Just not under its current conditions.

“Never even occurred to me that they might not be safe,” said Maneval. “That there might be fire hazards in the school on an everyday basis.”

Parents are also concerned about the issue of overcrowding. According to the School District’s website, Towson High School’s capacity is 1,260 students. The total enrollment for this school year is 1,509.

“That is not an environment that I want to send my two boys to,” said Maneval. “It’s not what they deserve, it’s not what the children in our community deserves. It’s not what the families, the teachers or the administration deserves. We need to do something now.”

“We believe a new building is absolutely necessary,” said Baltimore County Councilman, David Marks. “We don’t want a band aid solution.”

The first step is getting Baltimore County officials to allocate money in fiscal year 2019 to begin planning of the new high school.

“It’s going to take a number of years to do that,” said Councilman Marks. “All we’re asking for right now is the school board to commit to us that they will begin the planning process that leads us towards a new building.”

Fiscal year 2019 begins July 1, 2018 and the new Towson High School would be completed by 2022.

Members of “New in 22” are trying to spread awareness of the issues within Towson High School and get members of the community to speak out about them to the Board of Education.

“That’s the best way to get in front of the board and tell us what the concerns are,” said Julie Henn with the Baltimore County Board of Education. “Email us, get in front of us. The process is just beginning.”

The Board Meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night at the Board of Education Building on the Greenwood Campus at 6901 Charles Street.

For more information on New in 22