Balto. County school board OKs capital budget for repairs Randallstown, 62 other schools to benefit

September 24, 1998|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore County school board decided last night to move ahead with a plan for $4 million in renovations and repairs at Randallstown Elementary School while beginning to lobby county and state officials for a replacement for the 90-year-old building.

The decision -- made as the board approved its capital spending plan for the 1999-2000 school year -- is an attempt by board members to show that they believe that Randallstown needs a new building but the fiscal reality makes it unlikely county officials will agree to anything more than renovations and repairs.

The construction budget approved last night is slightly less than $80 million, with nearly all of the money being devoted to repairing schools. It includes funds for projects at 63 schools.

While some of the capital plan will remain in flux until spring, the key result of last night's vote is the board's school construction -- request to the state -- about $36 million.

A survey of the county's 161 schools has found a need for $213 million in repairs to elementary schools, but the cost estimate for middle and high schools will not be completed until later this fall.

Facing such huge repair costs, a spokesman for County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger was adamant last week that the county would not support a replacement school for Randallstown -- despite a loud chorus of parents who say the building is too old to be adequately repaired.

The board's vote kept in place a request to the state to help pay for the repairs at Randallstown but signaled the panel's intent to try to persuade state and county officials to replace the renovations with the more expensive option of a new building.

Parents pledged that they would lobby for the new school.

"Do the politicians think that we cannot pull them out of office for not supporting a new school for Randallstown?" asked parent Ellis Barksdale.

At last night's meeting, board members focused on lTC Randallstown and did not discuss a request from parents at Stoneleigh Elementary School for an addition.

But about 15 minutes after the board's vote, board member John A. Hayden asked school officials to look at Stoneleigh and try to find ways to better use the space in the building.

Pub Date: 9/24/98

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