Neall-council rift widens over planned Solley school PASADENA

June 03, 1993|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer Staff Writer John Rivera contributed to this article.

Plans for a new Solley Elementary School and a new Andover Middle School are caught in a tug of war between the Anne Arundel County Council and county executive, with the Board of Education siding with the executive and North County parents pulling for the council.

Representatives of County Executive Robert R. Neall said he intends to send a bill to the County Council later this month restoring $2 million for the Solley project. The money had been cut by the council when it approved the county's 1993-1994 spending plan last month.

The state has approved $1.6 million for a new Solley school, and a neighbor of the existing school has agreed to donate land for a new one. But both of those agreements could be in jeopardy if the county decides to delay construction until next year, as the council has proposed.

At yesterday's school board meeting, member Thomas Twombly, who represents Pasadena, said he was prepared to call for a building moratorium in the area if a new and improved Solley Elementary couldn't be built.

Neall administration officials, who agree with Mr. Twombly that the school needs to be built now, announced plans yesterday not to come up with the full $13.9 million needed to convert the former Andover High School building -- which now houses North County High School -- to a middle school facility.

County officials said they won't grant the full $13.9 million the council approved last month at the expense of pushing back construction of Solley a year. Mr. Neall intends to submit a bill that would earmark $887,000 to pay for planning and asbestos removal at Andover.

That would accomplish exactly what Mr. Neall intended when he submitted a supplemental budget to the council.

The supplemental budget was rejected by the council, which instead fully funded Andover and jettisoned Solley, angering Mr. Neall and Councilman Carl G. Holland, in whose Pasadena district the new school would have been situated.

"Our position is: Clearly, $2 million of this needs to go back to Solley," said Dennis Parkinson, Mr. Neall's chief administrative officer.

The school board took no action yesterday on the County Council's recommendation that $3.2 million be used to give teachers and other school employees raises in the budget year beginning July 1.

Next year would be the third school employees have gone without raises.

"That same $3.2 million has come back to haunt us," said school board member Maureen Carr-York, referring to the money saved by requiring teachers to take furlough days last year. Teachers have sued to recover the money.

"They're playing a shell game, and ultimately the students will be the ones who pay for it," she said.

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