Holland hopes to restore funding for new Solley Elementary building PASADENA

FIGHTING FOR A NEW SCHOOL

June 11, 1993|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

County Councilman Carl G. "Dutch" Holland, R-Pasadena, is rallying parents and teachers to help in the fight to restore financing for a new Solley elementary school.

But if the school is approved, the credit belongs elsewhere, said Councilman Edward Middlebrooks, D-Glen Burnie.

"If Solley elementary is saved, it's going to be because of the efforts of Senator [Philip C.] Jimeno and Delegate [Joan] Cadden," said Mr. Middlebrooks, who voted against financing the school two weeks ago. A former school board member, "Delegate Cadden particularly has been working feverishly to resolve this," he said.

The Solley project had been included in County Executive Robert R. Neall's budget proposal, the state had agreed to pay $1.6 million toward it, and a neighbor of the current school building had agreed to donate land for a new one.

"Mr. Holland has to explain to his constituents what happened," said Senator Jimeno, D-Brooklyn Park. "When you have a project that's fully funded by the county executive and has state money, you've got to be able to hold together four votes on the council."

He failed to do that because he has "alienated" some of his colleagues on the council, Mr. Middlebrooks said.

Mr. Middlebrooks said he supports Mr. Neall's plan to shift some money from a planned renovation of the present North County High School building into a middle school -- a project important to Mr. Middlebrooks' constituents -- to the Solley project.

The council will consider legislation June 21 to transfer $5.4 million of $13.5 million earmarked for the renovation of Andover Middle in Linthicum to the Solley school. The Andover money would be made up next year. The scheduled September 1997 opening of the new middle school would not be affected by the transfer, officials said.

Mr. Neall had intended to build Solley this year and defer the Andover project. However, the County Council cut $2 million earmarked for Solley to finance a 4-cent reduction in the property tax rate, and pushed forward plans to borrow the money needed for Andover.

But Mr. Holland, the council's vice chairman, said Solley elementary and the Mountain Road library, which also was cut from the budget, were victims of Democratic politics. The council cut $634,000 that was to be used to purchase additional books and convert a store front at Long Point Mall into a library. The library was to open Oct. 1.

Mr. Middlebrooks, Council Chairman David Boschert and Councilwomen Maureen Lamb and Virginia Clagett -- all Democrats -- were jealous that the county executive had financed so many projects within his Pasadena district, Mr. Holland said.

"I guess they were trying to send a message to the administration," said Mr. Holland, who met with parents and teachers at the old Solley school last night. "They made their point, but they made it on the backs of school children."

The move surprised elementary school parents throughout Pasadena as well as Mr. Neall and state lawmakers.

"We thought we were ready to break ground, that everything was a go," said Cheryl Snyder, president of the Solley Civic Association. "I think we were all shocked."

Mr. Holland said he is confident the school ultimately will be approved. Likewise, he said, the Mountain Road library is not dead. He noted that the council still budgeted $276,000 this year For 10 employees to staff the library.

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