Parents plead with board for school money Balto. Co. studies $74.2 million proposal

September 10, 1998|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Parents at 68-year-old Stoneleigh Elementary School want a larger cafeteria, a larger library and more classrooms.

Randallstown Elementary School parents want the 90-year-old building razed and replaced.

Those were the two biggest requests before the Baltimore County school board last night during a public hearing on the $74.2 million capital budget proposal it is considering for 1999-2000.

The capital budget plan proposed last month by school officials calls for $62 million to be spent on major maintenance and roof-repair projects. The only money in the proposal for constructing schools is $2 million to begin planning for a new middle-high school in the Owings Mills New Town area.

School officials say so much of the capital budget proposal is devoted to maintenance because many older schools are in urgent need of repairs. More than 80 percent of the county's schools were built before 1970, and routine maintenance at those schools was ignored for years.

County and school officials announced this week that a comprehensive survey of the district's 101 elementary schools found $213 million in basic repairs is needed over the next three years.

Parents of students at Stoneleigh and Randallstown elementaries told the board last night that more than repairs are needed at their schools.

For example, Stoneleigh received $1.45 million in the spring for a new heating system, lighting, windows and exterior doors.

But parents said the repair money did nothing to repair a cafeteria that is so small and chaotic that many children have too little time to eat. They also said the school's library is too small and that the four portable classrooms should be replaced with a permanent addition.

"Our facility is too small to provide the world-class education that Baltimore County is demanding of its students," said Stoneleigh parent John DiMenna, an architect. Like all of the more than 40 Stoneleigh parents at last night's hearing, he wore a blue-and-gold ribbon representing the school's colors.

The Randallstown parents continued their campaign to persuade the school board to build a replacement for their school, bringing about two dozen parents to the hearing on a school bus.

"With 90 years of wear and tear, the old Randallstown Elementary School must go," parent Yvette L. Harris told the board.

The school board is scheduled to discuss the capital budget proposal at a work session next Thursday and to vote on the proposal at its Sept. 23 meeting.

Pub Date: 9/10/98

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