Bracing themselves for a hard sell to the County Council, school board members approved a $1.1 million budget transfer request yesterday to complete three school renovation projects.
The future of projects at Severna Park, Annapolis and Eastport elementary schools is uncertain if the request is not approved, school officials said.
"I never take anything for granted," Board President Jo Ann Tollenger said. "I think it is difficult to sell. We'll be asked hard questions and we did a better job of getting answers, (but) those projects are in jeopardy."
To pay for the renovation projects, the board is seeking the following transfers:
* For Severna Park Elementary:$200,000 from the Andover High renovation and addition fund, including a $50,000 contingency fund to address unforeseen construction problems. Just over $30,000 will be used to pay for work at the site thathad not been expected, including removal of an abandoned oil tank, replacement of both the floor in the principal's office and lead contained on water line fittings, installing additional trusses over the administrative area and removing an abandoned septic tank.
The Severna Park project was under-funded by $169,718 from the state. Plans for Andover are being re-evaluated since the creation of North County High, but the account has a balance of $589,000.
* Annapolis Elementary: $400,000 is needed for updating heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Of that, $389,000 will come from the Andover High renovation and addition fund and $11,000 will come from interest accrued in the school construction fund.
* Eastport Elementary -- $450,000 is needed to remove airborne asbestos apparently left behind by previous contractors. The school system plans to recoup the money through litigation, but that may take over a year. The money would be transferred from a fund earmarked for construction of Meade Middle School. A site currently is not available.
The project also faces a $56,892 shortage due to state budget cutbacks. This money would come from interest and would be used to restore countertops.
In other business Monday, board members:
* Delayed adjusting the schoolcalendar to enable four staff furlough days to be used when studentsare not in school. The days may be set for Jan. 27, April 6, June 22and 23, but board members hope they can convince the County Council to use leftover insurance money to eliminate some of the days staff will be required to work without pay.
The furloughs are part of school system cutbacks made at the request of County Executive Robert R.Neall.
* Were urged by representatives from the Broadneck Peninsula to expedite additions to Broadneck Senior High. Without those additions, they complained, Broadneck may be the only high school in the state with a 10-12 grade alignment.
* Issued a proclamation to Webster Dorsey for volunteering this summer to do much of the work on the state report card issued by the county Nov. 12. This year, the report, which cost the board about $2,000 to assemble, included demographic and academic information about each county school.
* Heard a report on the "Buddy Buddy" program from students and staff at Shipley's Choice Elementary. The school was selected as the 476th Point of Light in President Bush's program.
The school has been recognized for pairing students with those with special needs and for instituting a school-wide sign-language program.