BCPS Staff Present Recommendation For Closure Of Golden Ring Middle School
BALTIMORE COUNTY - During Tuesday’s meeting of the Baltimore County Board of Education, staff presented a recommendation to close Golden Ring Middle School, prompting concerns that the board has not adequately communicated with residents.
Golden Ring Middle School was a part of the Central and Northeast Area Boundary Study, tasked with redrawing school attendance lines to relieve overcrowding and allow for the construction of a new area middle school.
At the meeting, board member TiaraBooker-Dwyer said that public communication regarding the closure could have been better. She was joined by board members Rod McMillion and Julie Henn, who called for more data to be shared with residents and improvements to board policy on public correspondence.
BCPS staff said that the district has followed board policy regarding communication of school closures.
Staff cited the September 2020 Capital Improvement Plan, which initially proposed the construction of a new northeast area middle school to replace Golden Ring.
Closing the school was first discussed five years ago during a Board of Education meeting in 2017. Since that meeting, communication on the closure has been sparse.
The Central and Northeast Area Boundary Study Committee submitted its recommendation to the board at the end of last month. The closure of Golden Ring is not explicitly stated anywhere in the documents provided to the committee. It must be interpreted based on the maps.
Golden Ring is listed as an “affected school” in the study but is not confirmed to be closing. Residents are left to interpret maps that label Golden Ring’s attendance area as a “new northeast area middle school.”
At the meeting, BCPS staff said there had been extensive conversation surrounding the need for more student seats at Golden Ring and noted that it was part of the justification used for forming the boundary study in the Capital Improvement Plan.
Deputy Superintendent Myriam Yarbrough said that she would seek permission from Superintendent Darryl Williams to release documents on the closure to the public. She also noted that those impacted by the closure would receive additional information.
The board will hold a public hearing to discuss the closure on May 3 and will make a final decision on May 16.
In their presentation, BCPS staff said it could take 12 to 18 months to determine how the building will be repurposed.