Ashburton school funds OK'd after Schaefer drops opposition

June 30, 1994|By Frank Langfitt | Frank Langfitt,Sun Staff Writer

The state Board of Public Works approved funding yesterday to replace West Baltimore's Ashburton Elementary School, which had become a pawn in a recent feud between the governor and a city legislator.

The board approved $3.9 million to help replace Ashburton, a 45-year-old former synagogue. While the allocation fell short of the $4.5 million city officials had requested, Baltimore Del. Howard P. Rawlings said it would be enough to assure a first-rate school.

"I have not heard any indication from the community or school administration that the proposal is not sufficient," said Mr. Rawlings, who lives within five blocks of Ashburton and has been one of its strongest advocates. If the funding is not enough, he said, "it's something the city will have to resolve."

Yale Stenzler, who heads the state's committee on school construction, said the group did not recommend the amount requested because it disagreed with the city on what the school's future enrollment should be.

L In addition to money for Ashburton, the board also approved:

* $802,000 to help build an addition to Western School of Technology and Environmental Science in Catonsville.

* $2.4 million for a renovation of Cecil Manor Elementary School in Elkton.

* $1.8 million for an addition to C. Milton Wright High School in Bel Air.

Yesterday's decision to fund the Ashburton project concludes a political saga that began in April, when Gov. William Donald Schaefer -- who holds a key vote on the board -- refused to recommend approval. By all accounts, his action then was a political payback aimed at state Sen. Clarence W. Blount, who helped kill two of the governor's bills during this year's legislative session.

After a tour of the deteriorating school this month, Mr. Schaefer announced a change of heart.

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