Baltimore County News
3,000 free backpacks to be distributed at three locations
School children from around Baltimore County are invited to celebrate the beginning of the new school year at three back-to-school events featuring free backpacks with school supplies (while supplies last) and resource fairs offering:
- health information
- Police officers, Fire personnel, fire engines, police cars, K-9 dogs, McGruff the crime dog, CPR demonstrations
- non-profit and community organizations
The events are scheduled Tuesday, August 23 from 3 – 7 p.m. at these locations:
Banneker Community Center
27 Main Avenue
Catonsville, MD 21228
Randallstown Community Center 3505 Resource Drive
Randallstown, MD 21133
Sollers Point Multi-Purpose Center
323 Sollers Point Road
Dundalk, MD 21222
The Back to School events are co-hosted by the Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore Foundation, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. S. Dallas Dance.
“Having grown up in Baltimore, I am grateful for the opportunity to use my success to make a difference for kids who are growing up in underserved communities. I want kids to know that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to, and to realize that a good education is the key to success,” said Kevin Liles, president and CEO of KWL Enterprises, a holding company that manages a portfolio of brands in talent management, brand development, marketing and philanthropy.
“I want to thank Kevin Liles and his foundation for their commitment to helping our students succeed in all aspects of their lives,” County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said. “These back to school events are a great opportunity for students to get engaged and start the school year on strong footing.”
“Going back to school is an exciting time for students, parents, educators, and the whole community we know as Team BCPS,” said Dr. Dance. “We appreciate the partnership with County Executive Kamenetz and the Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore Foundation to help our students arrive at school next week excited and ready to learn.”
About Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore:
The mission of the Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore Foundation is to improve the quality of life for youth in the Greater Baltimore Area. The foundation provides youth with exposure to social, educational, economic, cultural and civic opportunities that they may not otherwise experience.
County agencies win 2016 National Association of Counties Achievement Awards
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that four Baltimore County agencies have been awarded 2016 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo).
“Baltimore Countians are lucky to have very dedicated and capable employees who are focused on improving County services and the overall quality of life in Baltimore County,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “I congratulate these employees on developing award-winning programs that benefit our residents and will be looked to as national models by other jurisdictions,” he said.
The Baltimore County agencies that merited national recognition include:
- Department of Aging for their Volunteer Recognition Luncheon and Community Resources Publication
- Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, Baltimore County Public Schools and the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Schools for the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge
- Department of Aging for the Food for Thought Initiative
“These programs are truly exceptional and they exemplify good government and innovative thinking,” said Baltimore County Council Chair Vicki Almond.
County expects to be fully reimbursed $166.4 million for advanced state share
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that the County will advance the State's share of school construction funding to expedite central air conditioning for every remaining elementary and middle school classroom by fall 2017. The remaining schools had been scheduled to receive central air upgrades over the next three fiscal years, delayed in part due to the failure of the Governor to advance funding for the State’s share of school construction projects.
In 2011, Baltimore County embarked on a $1.3 billion Schools for our Future program, the most ambitious school construction initiative in the history of the State. The County is in the home stretch of constructing 15 new schools and 11 additions, while adding seats to eliminate current elementary school over-crowding while also modernizing schools. During the program, a backlog of 90 schools without central air is eliminated.
Under the current program, for every one State dollar received for school construction, Baltimore County has invested two County tax dollars, more than the one-to-one customary match. In the proposed FY17 budget, the County included $121.8 million to forward-fund a majority of the State’s share of the school construction program. The cost of the remaining air conditioning upgrades is $83 million, with $45 million due from the State and $39 million due from the County, after accounting for past County payments of $15 million.
Now, the County proposes to further advance the State's share of the remaining $45 million expense to complete by 2017 central air upgrade projects in every county school that is not otherwise slated for replacement or major renovation. Due to the size of the high school facilities, those projects will be completed by August 2018. Therefore, the County will be forward-funding $166.4 million on behalf of the State, and will seek timely reimbursement.
After reviewing year-end budget projections for the school system, Schools Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance approached County Executive Kamenetz about the possibility of utilizing $20 million of surplus funds to forward fund the installation of central air conditioning. The County Executive agreed, thanking Dr. Dance for his budgetary management that helped allow the County to expedite these projects.
"Our students and teachers deserve a climate controlled and energy efficient central air conditioning system, and not window units from Home Depot, as suggested by the Governor and Comptroller. Despite the fiscally irresponsible suggestion by Governor Hogan that Baltimore County waste money on temporary window air conditioning units, we insist on installing central air systems," said Executive Kamenetz. "Last week, Governor Hogan withheld $10 million of State funds as ransom so that we would capitulate and install window units. It's ridiculous that we have to advance the State’s share of funding to do the job right the first time."
After factoring in costs to bid electrical upgrades and state procurement costs for window units, Baltimore County officials believe they can install central air in the same time frame it would take to install portable window units. "For the Governor to suggest that window units could be installed this summer, knowing full well that under State procurement law it would take at least sixteen months, is disingenuous," said Kamenetz. "Shame on the governor for not stepping forward with the state share to complete the job in a timely manner."
“I am deeply appreciative of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and his staff and their efforts to collaborate with us to find long-term solutions to our infrastructure needs," said Dance. “Through sound fiscal management, along with the County Executive and County Council's support, this plan allows us to not only provide central air conditioning in our buildings but to further accelerate our efforts."
The remaining schools to receive central air upgrades, subject to council approval, are:
- Franklin High School
- Golden Ring Middle School
- Kenwood High School
- Middle River Middle School
- Southwest Academy
- Stemmers Run Middle School
“I thank members of the County Council, our State delegation, and the Board of Education who have been supportive of our comprehensive approach from the beginning,” concluded Kamenetz. “The success of our program has been a true team effort.”
Revised April 6, 2016