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Keyword: school construction

Phase One of 10-Year Capital Plan Includes Recommendations for Equitable Allocation of School Construction Dollars

Baltimore County and Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) today released the recommendations from the first phase (PDF) of the Multi-Year Improvement Plan for All Schools (MYIPAS).

MYIPAS is a 10-year capital planning process that will identify and prioritize needed improvements to Baltimore County’s school infrastructure. The first phase focused on high schools. The second phase, focusing on all remaining schools, centers, and programs, is scheduled to be complete in May 2021. A final report is expected by fall 2021.

“Every student in Baltimore County, regardless of their zip code, deserves access to a safe, modern school facility that meets the needs of their community,” said County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “With aging infrastructure and a growing population, we have significant needs at the high school level, and these initial recommendations will serve as a critical resource as we work to ensure equitable allocation of resources throughout the County.”

“We appreciate the efforts of Baltimore County Government in delivering these recommendations. It is incumbent on the Board to carefully evaluate recommendations and next steps given the tremendous facility needs throughout the county and the current economic crisis due to the global pandemic,” said Kathleen Causey, chair of the Board of Education of Baltimore County. “These are challenging times, but it is essential that we continue to move forward with facility improvements.”

“We view the development of this plan as an important step forward on the path toward ensuring that all of our school buildings offer the type of physical environment most conducive for teaching and learning,” said Superintendent Dr. Darryl L. Williams.

Developing Recommendations

The initial recommendations were developed by consultants from CannonDesign, a national architecture and planning company that has led over 1,300 education facility projects across the country, including over 200 education master plans.

CannonDesign took a detailed look at the County’s high school buildings with a focus on educational adequacy and equity, facility conditions, and capacity utilization. In addition, stakeholders were offered an opportunity to provide input in July through an online survey, which received more than 22,000 responses.

Using their findings, CannonDesign developed recommendations for how Baltimore County should prioritize its resources for high school construction, with those facilities and communities with greater need receiving higher prioritization.

Meeting the Needs of Students

The County is projected to have approximately 1,700 more students than seats in its high schools over the next decade, and the consultants found that the County has approximately $1.2 billion worth of capital needs at the high school level. If recent state funding trends continue, it would take 27 years to address all of the County’s high school needs.

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (HB 1), which passed the General Assembly with overwhelming support but was vetoed by Governor Larry Hogan, would have allowed the County to meet the needs of its high school students in an estimated 15 years. County Executive Olszewski has urged the General Assembly to override Governor Hogan’s veto.

More information about MYIPAS is available here.


County Can Move Forward on Nearly $250 Million in County-Funded, Shovel-Ready Projects

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today issued the following statement in response the passage of the Built to Learn Act by the Maryland House of Delegates in a vote of 128–6:

“Today’s historic and bipartisan vote is a critical step in providing our children and educators here in Baltimore County—and across the state—with the modern school facilities they deserve.

“I’ve proudly led the fight for increased state investment in school construction to ensure Baltimore County can finally move forward on nearly $250 million in County-funded, shovel-ready projects.

“I applaud Speaker Jones and the Maryland House of Delegates for moving quickly on this priority and I look forward to continuing to work with Senate President Ferguson to get the job done this year for communities across Maryland.”


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."


 
 
Revised October 16, 2020               
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