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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.”


Actions by Governor and Comptroller are illegal and irresponsible; Lever’s departure regrettable

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz called the actions by Governor Hogan and Comptroller Franchot yesterday illegal and irresponsible.

“Baltimore County is in the midst of a comprehensive $1.3 billion plan to build and renovate schools, add classroom seats,  and install central air conditioning in every single Baltimore County school by 2019,” said Kamenetz. “In his desire to punish Baltimore County and Baltimore City, the Governor intentionally misstated the county’s plan, refused multiple opportunities to be presented with the facts, and disregarded the clear legal advice of the Attorney General of the State of Maryland. It is regrettable, but understandable, that the longstanding and well-respected Chief of State School Construction would resign in protest.”

Prior to the Board of Public Works meeting, Attorney General Brian Frosh issued an opinion letter to Governor Hogan advising that the Governor was without the legal authority to mandate portable air conditioning units in local schools. The Governor chose to blatantly disregard the legal opinion and proceeded with just such a mandate and clearly exceeded his authority.

State Treasurer Nancy Kopp also warned the Governor that his action could jeopardize the state's coveted triple AAA Bond rating. Governor Hogan chose to ignore the written opinion letter from the State's bond counsel.

Baltimore County is in the midst of an unprecedented 1.3 billion dollar school construction program, building 15 new schools, 11 additions, modernizing schools, and providing central air conditioning to every single school. Never before in the history of this state has a County embarked on such a comprehensive school construction program, all being completed without any increase in the tax.

When the program began in 2011, 90 County Schools were without air-conditioning. With the current budget, 80 are funded or installed and every single school is now funded or programmed to be completed by 2019. 

"The Governor’s mandate that we provide room air conditioners to the remaining schools by this fall is impossible due to procurement laws, which require the school system to publicly bid all projects and follow state procurement procedures," said County Director of Budget and Finance Keith Dorsey.  "Moreover, given the age of the remaining buildings, electricians would have to be hired to provide extensive electrical upgrades to handle window units. It is also fiscally irresponsible because we would be taking needed funds from providing central air for a temporary fix. It's ironic that the Governor would hold 10 million dollars of funds as ransom. Doing so threatens several projects that would otherwise be used to provide central air."

In a stunning development late yesterday afternoon, the Executive Director of the Interagency Committee on School Construction Dr. David Lever resigned in protest over the behavior of Governor Hogan. Dr. Lever, a nationally renowned expert in school construction, has headed the state's school construction program since 2003, serving two republican governors and one democratic governor

In his resignation letter, Dr. Lever stated, "I find that I cannot be party to this degradation of a school construction program that I have worked hard to advance in professionalism and comprehensiveness….The exercise of blunt authority demonstrated at the Board of Public Works meeting of May 11, and the foreclosure of any reasonable discussion on this issue, substitutes the preferences of the Board of Public Works for the expertise of a range of local and state individuals who have made education and school facility matters their life work."

Dr. Lever also noted the Governor’s refusal to allow Baltimore County schools Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance to testify about the facts of the county's comprehensive plan, stating, "The disrespect with which these dedicated, serious officials were treated at the meeting of May 11 is no less than astonishing."

Fiction and Facts

Fiction: The Governor stated, "We have 24 jurisdictions; 22 of them have solved this problem and do not have hot kids in classrooms.  There's only two that have failed, Baltimore County and Baltimore City. "

Fact: Five jurisdictions still have unairconditioned classrooms, including the Republican-led counties of Garrett, Harford, and Wicomico.

Fiction: The Governor stated that County Executive Kamenetz "vetoed" a proposal by the Board of Education of Baltimore County to spend $10 million on portable air conditioning units. 

Fact: The County Board of Education rejected a proposed amendment regarding portable air conditioners in the budget presented to the County Executive.  

Fiction: The Governor said that the County refused to come before the Board of Public Works to outline the county’s comprehensive plan. 

Fact: On September 25, 2015, the County Executive provided several available dates that he and Superintendent Dance could appear before the Board of Public Works. The Governor never acknowledged or responded to the request. On May 11, 2016 Baltimore County schools Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance attended the Board of Public Works meeting, but the governor denied the opportunity for him to testify, despite the request of Treasurer Kopp.

Fiction: The governor blamed the lack of air conditioning in Baltimore County on “petty politics, poor management and indifference.”

Fact: Since 2011, Baltimore County has funded a comprehensive $1.3 billion plan that has been approved by the county council and voter referenda. For every one state dollar received, two county dollars are invested.  

$1.3 billion Schools for our Future

  • 15 new schools
  • 11 additions
  • Every Baltimore County Public School will have central air conditioning
  • Providing central air conditioning for an additional 50,563 students
  • 12,289 new seats built
  • Net gain of 7,925 new seats

New Schools

Bedford Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Berkshire Elementary, funded July 1, 2018

Catonsville Elementary, opens August 2016

Chadwick Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Colgate Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Dundalk Elementary, funded July 1, 2017

Lansdowne Elementary, opens August 2018

Lyons Mill Elementary, opened August 2015

Mays Chapel Elementary, opened August 2014

NE area- Joppa Road site, opens August 2018

NE area- Ridge Road site, funded July 1, 2019

Relay Elementary, opens August 2017

Summit Park Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Victory Villa Elementary, opens August 2018

Westowne Elementary, opens August 2016

Additions

Deer Park Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Fort Garrison Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Hampton Elementary, opened August 2013

Hereford High, opened August 2015

Padonia International Elementary, opens August 2017

Pikesville High, complete August 2016

Red House Run Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Scotts Branch Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Sparks Elementary, opened August 2015

Stoneleigh Elementary, opened August 2013

Westchester Elementary, opens August 2016

Central Air Conditioning Project Installation Schedule

August 2016

August 2017

August 2018

August 2019

Carney ES

Chase ES

Halstead ES

Hawthorne ES

Joppa View ES

Villa Cresta ES

Baltimore Highlands ES

Bear Creek ES

Chapel Hill ES

Edmondson Heights ES

Franklin MS

Grange ES

Kingsville ES

Oakleigh ES

Overlea HS

Pleasant Plains ES

Pot Spring ES

Arbutus MS

Battle Grove ES

Charlesmont ES

Church Lane ES

Dumbarton MS

Reisterstown ES

Orems ES

Dulaney HS

Franklin HS

Golden Ring MS

Kenwood HS

Lansdowne HS

Middle River MS

Patapsco Center for the Arts

Southwest Academy

Stemmers Run MS

Woodlawn HS


Program Records 25 Percent More Cleanups and 67 Percent More Volunteers than Last Year

At an awards ceremony this morning at Reisterstown Elementary School, students and staff were excited to learn that their litter cleanup efforts netted them one of two grand prizes, and a $3,000 environmental grant in the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Education Foundation of Baltimore County Executive Director Debbie Phelps announced that 14 Baltimore County public schools were winners in this program that resulted in more than 5,600 volunteers picking up some 3,100 bags of litter in more than 400 litter cleanups around the County. Kamenetz encouraged the audience of students and faculty to picture the amount of debris collected in these 15-minute litter cleanups. “Just for a second, try to imagine 3,100 bags of litter,” he said. “I’ll bet it would fill up this whole gymnasium! Think about how great it is that it got bagged up rather than ending up in our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.” 

Tons of Litter Collected, Thousands of Grant Dollars Distributed to Schools

The 2016 program resulted in 406 cleanups conducted by 5,602 volunteers. This is up from 324 cleanups conducted by 3,356 volunteers, who picked up 3,456 bags of trash last year. This is a 25 percent increase in cleanups and a 67 percent increase in volunteer participation from last year.

In addition to litter, Clean Green 15 volunteers collected many tons of bulk trash items from parks, streambanks, schoolyards and other locations all around Baltimore County. Cleanups included schoolchildren organized by teachers during the school day as well as community-based activity.

Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge Winning Schools 2016

AwardPrizeSchoolNumber of VolunteersPounds of Litter
Grand Prize – Most Volunteers$3,000 GrantReisterstown Elementary School1,3502,633
Grand Prize – Most Litter Collected$3,000 GrantGrange Elementary School67723,174
First Place Elementary School$2,000 GrantWestowne Elementary School5045,534
Second Place Elementary School

$1,500 Grant

Bear Creek Elementary School

936

305

First Place Middle School

$2,000 Grant

Holabird Middle School

114

1132

Second Place Middle School

$1,500 Grant

Dundalk Middle School

261

210

First Place High School

$2,000 Grant

Western Schools of Technology and Environmental Science

237

447

Second Place High School

$1,500 Grant

Sparrows Point High School

141

266

Honorable Mention

iPad

Colgate Elementary School

414

816

Honorable Mention

iPad

Catonsville High School

45

389

Honorable Mention

iPad

Stemmers Run Middle School

29

174

Honorable Mention

iPad

Chapel Hill Elementary School*

15*

532

Honorable Mention

iPad

Vincent Farms Elementary School*

15*

532

Honorable Mention

iPad

Stoneleigh Elementary School

150

403

*Denotes a collaborative effort between schools.

Clean Green 15 Now Expanded to Run Year-Round

In addition to awarding prizes to the winning schools from this year, Kamenetz also announced that the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge will now run year-round, with groups eligible to log clean-ups from May 1, 2016, through April 30, 2017, for consideration in next year’s awards. “We are delighted to see the enthusiasm for the Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge growing — with 25 percent more cleanups logged this year than last and 67 percent more volunteers recorded,” Kamenetz said.

Through this program, BCPS schools and their community supporters conducted quick 15-minute litter clean-ups and competed from last fall through this April to see which school communities could log the most cleanups. The program is open to any group, including school-based groups, places of worship, youth groups, civic or community groups, scout troops, sport teams, businesses or other organizations that wish to help clean up their community. Groups were asked to report their clean-ups on the BCPS website.

Clean Green Collaboration to Tackle Trash in Neighborhoods and Waterways

Through the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge, the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools awarded grants to the top winning schools to fund school-based instructional projects emphasizing the theme of environmental literacy. Examples could include installing a reading garden or rain garden, planting trees, diverting downspouts or environmental education projects. Six schools won Honorable Mention awards and received iPads.

The Clean Green 15 Challenge is a positive hands-on way for our students to enhance their environmental literacy and demonstrate their pride in keeping their schools, neighborhoods and waterways clean and attractive,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance.

The challenge was a collaborative effort of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS), Baltimore County Public Schools and the Education Foundation of Baltimore County. Sponsors included BGE, Maryland Environmental Service and Tradepoint Atlantic.

”Congratulations to all of the students and community members who removed litter from our neighborhoods, waterways and schools,” said Council Chair Vicki Almond. “I believe that this program teaches students the importance of keeping Baltimore County clean and beautiful.”


 
 

Revised April 6, 2016