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County Executive Encourages School Board to Prioritize the Projects in Their Capital Planning

County Executive Johnny Olszewski has announced that he has identified funds in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget to begin the planning process for new buildings for Towson High School and Dulaney High School. While moving forward with construction will require additional resources from the state in the upcoming legislative session, the funds will allow the county to begin the preliminary planning work for these two high schools.

"Over the next decade, we expect to have 1,700 more students than seats in our county's high schools. Our students and families deserve safe, modern school facilities, and we have a responsibility to provide them," Olszewski said. "Education is and will always be my number one priority, and as our students return to school this week, I want them and their families to know that I will not rest until they have the resources they need to receive the best education possible. I encourage the Board of Education to prioritize these high school projects in their capital spending plan."

As part of his Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Message, Olszewski announced plans to develop a 10-year capital plan for school construction, which will ensure the county has a roadmap for equitable and effective allocation of school construction dollars.

"Families in these communities were promised during the previous administration that their students would benefit from much-needed new high school facilities, and I'm pleased to see that this county executive is committed to fulfilling that promise," said Councilman Wade Kach.

"Families in the Towson community deserve a school that can accommodate their needs—the current building doesn't do that. This announcement advances new high school construction in central Baltimore County, a goal shared by hundreds of students and families. I thank County Executive Olszewski for his support," said Councilman David Marks.

These funds for Towson and Dulaney are in addition to planning and design funds already allocated for Lansdowne High School, which remains the county's top high school construction priority. In addition, in his FY 2020 budget, Olszewski included the county's portion of construction funds for the remaining elementary and middle school projects planned as part of the Schools for Our Future program.

State Funding Will Move the Projects Forward

However, none of these projects can move forward without additional funds from the state. General Assembly leaders have indicated their commitment to allocating additional funds for school construction in the 2020 legislative session.

"This is a positive step forward for the Dulaney and Towson communities. The County Executive and Board of Education have been unwavering in their support, and this news is very welcome," said Yara Cheikh, Vice President of the Dulaney High School PTSA. "We plan to be partners in Annapolis this upcoming session with the County Executive's administration to advocate for additional state dollars for school construction projects across our County. We will be shovel-ready to move forward once all our funding is in place and that is very exciting."

Last week Olszewski joined members of the House Appropriations Committee as they toured schools in Baltimore County to gain a better understanding of the critical needs facing our school facilities.

"Last session I spent considerable time in Annapolis urging lawmakers to do right by our students and provide the dollars needed to build the schools that they need and deserve. I'm optimistic that next year they will take the necessary action so our students don't get left behind."


Digital speed signs are in response to concerns raised at town hall meeting

County Executive Johnny Olszewski and 5th District Councilman David Marks announced jointly that the County Department of Public Works will initiate a traffic calming pilot program that will position digital speed signs around the County to help mitigate high-speed drivers in residential neighborhoods as part of a comprehensive traffic calming strategy.

“Councilman Marks and I heard loud and clear at last week’s town hall meeting that our residents are very concerned about drivers speeding through their neighborhoods,” Olszewski said. “Councilman Marks has advocated for using digital speed monitoring systems to slow down drivers and I am pleased that we are moving ahead with a pilot program,” Olszewski said. 

“Traffic safety was a major concern raised at the fifth district town hall meeting,” Marks said. I commend County Executive Olszewski for working so quickly to create this pilot program on speed sign technology.”

The pilot program will deploy one digital speed monitoring system in each of the County’s seven councilmatic districts with the results to be reviewed by traffic experts in the Department of Public Works. The timeline and logistical details of the pilot program are currently in development. 

Currently the Police Department has five portable digital speed monitoring signs that are placed as needed at locations around the County. This new pilot program will enhance these efforts. 


Public meetings to foster transparency, invite feedback on budget

County Executive Johnny Olszewski is hosting a series of seven interactive town hall meetings across Baltimore County to prompt detailed public discussion focused on the County’s current fiscal climate, future budget priorities, and ensuring that community members have the opportunity to provide input into the budget planning process.

“In order to best serve the families and businesses of Baltimore County, we need to hear from them directly,” said Olszewski. “We are committed to working collaboratively with all of our stakeholders in every community so that we can overcome our challenges and build a better Baltimore County together.”

The first town hall meeting will be co-hosted by Councilman David Marks and will be held on Thursday, January 10, at 6:30 p.m. at Loch Raven High School (1212 Cowpens Ave, Towson, MD 21286).  In the event of inclement weather that cancels evening activities at Baltimore County Public Schools, the meeting will be postponed.

Community members will have the opportunity to hear directly from County Executive Olszewski and senior officials on the County’s budgetary constraints and fiscal challenges, and will be able to share their thoughts, ideas and priorities with the administration.

The schedule of town hall meetings is available here.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017