Schools OK $62.6 million capital budget Balto. Co. board seeks state, county funds

September 10, 1997|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore County school board approved last night a $62.6 million capital budget that seeks state and county funds for 26 projects, including an elementary-middle school in Owings Mills.

The capital plan, unanimously approved at the board's regular meeting, asks for $32.5 million from the county and $30 million from the state for the fiscal year that will begin in July.

Moving to remedy the crowding at many county schools, the board approved a 100-seat addition at Hebbville Elementary, in the southwestern part of the county.

It also agreed to transfer money in hand for the Owings Mills project to start construction immediately on the Hebbville addition, along with others at Deer Park and Glyndon elementaries. The additions are expected to be finished by next September.

Following a plan laid out this summer by county officials, the board approved a 200-seat addition to Deer Park Middle School and construction of the 900-student New Town elementary-middle school in Owings Mills, expected to open in the fall of 2000.

Those projects, the 100-seat addition to Deer Park Elementary and a 400-seat addition under construction at Franklin Middle will increase the capacity of schools in the northwest by 1,600.

Residents of that area were divided over how the additional seats should be allotted. Some wanted more at Deer Park Middle; others wanted more at New Town, which they said was purposely being kept small to make it seem elite and please developers.

Some suggested that the Deer Park elementary addition was meant to appease parents.

"I have asked the school board to be our defense against politicians," said Lisa Cohen, president of the Deer Park Elementary PTA. "Schools are not economic development tools."

Stressing repeatedly that they had listened to public sentiment, board members told school officials that the addition to Deer Park Middle must be more than bricks and mortar. Because of the size of the school -- more than 1,200 students this year -- "we're not looking at this as a traditional 200-seat addition," said board member Phyllis Ettinger.

She asked planners to consider a second cafeteria and for creative solutions to problems associated with large middle schools.

Pub Date: 9/10/97

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