County schools may get more building funds Preliminary opinion from committee urges $17 million for construction

December 22, 1998|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A key state committee has recommended in a preliminary round of decisions that Baltimore County receive at least $17.8 million in state school construction money, about $7 million more than state officials had recommended last week.

The increase, approved last week by the state Interagency Committee on School Construction, comes as county officials grapple with aging schools and increased competition from other school systems for state construction funds.

A consultant for Baltimore County schools told the county school board three months ago that repairing the county's elementary schools will cost $213 million over the next three years. The board is awaiting a consultant's estimate on repairing the county's 60 middle and high schools.

County officials expect to get more of the $36.9 million that they requested during an initial round of funding requests in the fall. Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat who backed Gov. Parris N. Glendening in the November election, has said that Glendening promised the county would receive about $30 million next year.

Baltimore County school officials said yesterday that the early recommendation for increased funding was good news.

"To be this far along with our request this early in the process is really a positive sign," said Charles Herndon, a spokesman for Baltimore County schools.

Herndon said yesterday that the funding would be discussed by the county school board when it reviews its capital budget at tonight's board meeting.

The $17.8 million, recommended by the state committee, would help pay for construction and renovation projects at 26 elementary and middle schools. The project that topped the state's list is $1.6 million for renovating Randallstown Elementary School, a 90-year-old facility that is the county's oldest school.

The $17.8 million package will be considered during a Jan. 27 hearing in Annapolis before the Board of Public Works with other funding requests from school systems statewide.

Pub Date: 12/22/98

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