Schools want $39.6 million for projects Proposed budget asks $15.85 million from the state

'What citizens expect'

2 new elementaries are part of request

hearing set Aug. 28

August 13, 1996|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

Carroll County's growing enrollment and aging schools add up to $15.85 million in building improvements for 1998. And that's just the amount school administrators are asking from the state.

The proposed capital improvement budget goes to the Carroll County Board of Education for a first look tomorrow.

It will take another $23.73 million in county money to complete these projects.

Board members will hold a public hearing Aug. 28 before voting on the final budget they will submit to the state.

Money for new elementaries in Eldersburg and Westminster, a renovated Francis Scott Key High School, and air conditioning and new roofs for five schools make up the bulk of the request.

On several projects, the schools will ask the county to cover the cost even if the state says no. Among those are Francis Scott Key and the air conditioning at South Carroll High School.

"We're going to say, if the state doesn't fund this, we want the county to fund it," said Vernon Smith, director of support services for Carroll County Schools.

"I think that's what the citizens are going to expect we'll do," Smith said, particularly about Francis Scott Key.

This request to the state is the first step in a long series of requests and appeals, as counties compete for shares of state money for schools.

Over the fall, state school-planning staff will review requests from all counties and make recommendations to the Board of Public Works in January.

At that meeting, school representatives often appeal to the three-member board for what the staff did not recommend. The three-member board includes state Treasurer Richard N. Dixon, a former Carroll legislator.

By the time the legislative session ends in April and the Board of Public Works makes its final decisions, the schools will know how much of their request they will get.

The request that goes before the school board tomorrow includes: Updating wiring at five schools to accept more advanced computer technology -- $114,000. This request goes to the Maryland Technology in Schools program. If the state PTC grants this request, the county would provide another $61,000. The schools then would be eligible for another $400,000 in state money for software, training and other technology support at those five schools, plus three more that have the wiring in place.

Renovating the air conditioning at South Carroll High and Eldersburg Elementary schools -- $789,200. The county would provide another $1.383 million.

Putting new roofs on North Carroll High, Liberty High and Northwest Middle schools -- $277,800. The county would provide another $1.573 million.

Building Linton Springs Elementary School in Eldersburg -- another $2.268 million. The state has provided $2 million for the project this year. The county is giving $4.43 million.

Renovating Francis Scott Key High School -- $6.776 million. The county would cover the remaining $11.59 million. The total cost of this project is expected to be up to $18.37 million, but that includes a worst-case prediction for the cost of a new wastewater-treatment facility, Smith said. The most expensive of the three options schools are considering is $2 million to build pipes connecting to Union Bridge's sewer system.

Building Cranberry Station Elementary School in Westminster -- $3.546 million. The county would cover the remaining $4.7 million. But the county has committed to the project already, and will cover the entire amount if the state doesn't approve it this year, Smith said. In the past, the county has carried on with two school projects -- Sandymount and Piney Ridge elementaries -- but continues each year to ask the state to reimburse them.

Reimbursing the county $2.08 million toward the renovation of Sandymount Elementary School four years ago. The county paid for the project and completed it long before getting state approval, but kept asking each year for reimbursement. This spring, the state gave the county "planning approval" for the long-finished project, which is a formality to make it eligible to get construction money next spring.

No money yet, but planning approval for a new high school in Westminster, a new middle school in North Carroll and new science classrooms at South Carroll and Liberty high schools.

Pub Date: 8/13/96

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