The Baltimore County Council—Democrats as well as Republicans—are defying County Executive Kevin Kamenetz over his plans to build a new Dulaney High School. Members from both parties sent a letter to Kamenetz Tuesday, putting him on notice they will block the project from getting off the ground this year.
Councilman Tom Quirk, a Democrat, is letting his fellow Democrat, County Executive Kamenetz, have it over his decision to build a new Dulaney High School, a school expected to cost around $140 million, months before he is leaving office.
“And I refuse to stand by and let the county executive try to get all the credit and then give all the pain to the next county executive and next county council," Quirk said. "It’s irresponsible and it’s politics at its worst.”
Kamenetz is running for the Democratic nomination for governor.
In the letter to Kamenetz, Quirk and five other council members, three of them fellow Democrats, say they will axe from the coming year’s budget planning money for a new Dulaney High. They say something that expensive should be left to the next council and county executive to decide. They also see it as a reversal by Kamenetz, who last year said the cost of a new Dulaney was not justified.
Republican Councilman Wade Kach was the only one who did not sign the letter. Dulaney High is in his district. Kach supports Kamenetz on this and says he is outraged and upset at his fellow council members.
“The letter today caught me totally by surprise,” Kach said.
Kach said supporters of a new Dulaney High School proved their case. And what really irks Kach is that the Dulaney crowd has also supported a new Lansdowne High School in Quirk’s district in southwest Baltimore County.
“This is such a slap in the face to our community,” Kach said.
The county executive was unavailable for comment. But his chief of staff, Don Mohler, released a statement regarding the council’s letter. It said a new Dulaney High School, with 350 additional seats, will help ease crowding in the central part of the county.
And Mohler argued no such enrollment issues exist in Lansdowne. So the administration supports a planned $60 million renovation there instead.
Some in Lansdowne are seeing that as a double standard. They say Dulaney is no more crowded than Lansdowne and Lansdowne is in worse shape. They are marshaling their forces to show up at next week’s school board meeting to make the case for a new Lansdowne High.