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Keyword: school construction

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."


County Executive Calls for $400 Million in Statewide School Construction Funding

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will once again make school construction and transportation funding the linchpins of his legislative agenda for the upcoming General Assembly session.

Education

“There are significant needs for school construction and maintenance in every school district across the state,” said Kamenetz. “Governor Hogan’s current level of funding is simply inadequate. We must increase the statewide funding to at least $400 million, and we must do it now. Counties are unable to keep up with maintenance needs due to the lack of matching state funds. Our students and teachers deserve no less.”

Baltimore County’s request for school construction funding is $122 million.

Transportation

In October, the County Executive presented his transportation priorities to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), which included a $60 million request for projects in every region of the County. First and foremost in the request is the County Executive’s support for the Red Line. “While Governor Hogan continues to deplete the Transportation Trust Fund, people all over the state remain stuck in traffic.”

Paid Sick Leave

County Executive Kamenetz will work closely with members of the Baltimore County delegation and leadership in Annapolis on issues throughout the 90-day session. “I will start by doing whatever I can do to assist legislators in overriding Governor Hogan’s veto of the paid sick leave bill,” Kamenetz stated. “Governor Hogan’s refusal to give working families paid sick leave is outrageous, and I am confident the General Assembly will fight for working families despite the Governor.”

Renewable Energy

The County Executive will join clean energy advocates in their effort to ensure that Maryland reaches a 50 percent renewable energy portfolio by 2030. The current standard calls for a 25 percent use of renewables by 2020. “People all across the state want Maryland to be a leader in increasing its renewable energy commitment. You don’t do this by standing still, and I look forward to working with advocates and legislative leaders to move this initiative forward.”

Build on Last Year’s Success

During the 2017 session, Kamenetz worked closely with legislators to strengthen Maryland’s sexual assault laws, extend the fracking ban, support affordable prescription drug legislation and fight for the Trust Act. “People all across the state care about education, public safety, health care, and quality of life issues like environmental protection and renewable energy,” concluded Kamenetz. “If Governor Hogan won’t lead on these issues, the legislature will, and I will do whatever I can to support those efforts.”


Planning Money for Two High Schools Will be Included in Next Budget

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that he will include county planning funds for two new high schools in his FY 19 budget request.  Based upon enrollment projections, the schools would serve the Towson area and the central-northeast area.

“After numerous meetings with education experts and community leaders, it is clear that Baltimore County needs to alleviate overcrowding in the Towson area, as well as the central-northeast corridor," said Kamenetz.  "We need to resolve overcrowding at Towson High, although there are complications due to the school's designation as a County historic structure. The location of a second new school to alleviate overcrowding in the central-northeast corridor will be influenced by the pending high school enrollment reassessment currently being conducted by the school system. Nevertheless, it is clear that we need to fund two new schools to resolve overcrowding."

Although the County School Board recently added a last-minute amendment on Tuesday to its capital budget, calling for two new high schools at specific locations, there is insufficient time for the school system to provide necessary data to state officials to be considered by the state during its fall review. However, the commitment by County Executive Kamenetz for county planning money will ensure that planning for two new high schools can continue at the county level.

By 2026, the school system projects that Towson High will be 456 students over state-rated capacity. The same study indicates that two schools in the central-northeast corridor also face overcrowding, with Dulaney High School at 188 students over state-rated capacity by 2026, and Perry Hall High at 234 students overcapacity. Kamenetz's high school plans would eliminate the projected overcrowding.

Schools for Our Future

When County Executive Kamenetz was elected in 2010, Baltimore County faced overcrowded schools and outdated school buildings.

In response, Kamenetz crafted a $1.3 billion dollar Schools for Our Future program, the largest single investment in school construction in the history of the County, building 16 new schools, and 15 renovations and additions.

During this initiative, Baltimore County has contributed $2 to every state dollar for school construction. “Baltimore County is not alone in its need for new schools,” said Kamenetz. “Governor Hogan must increase the state’s contribution for school construction if school districts all over the state are to remain competitive.”


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017