Make-up work for schools

Schools: State funds boost county's progress toward fixing aging buildings.

Agenda 2000 Anne Arundel

May 12, 2000

THEY'RE starting to fix the county's aging school buildings, thanks to a big chunk of money from county Executive Janet S. Owens and a $20.5 million contribution from state lawmakers.

But the celebration of this good fortune shouldn't last too long. There's still too much catching up to do.

Ms. Owens and other county officials presented a united front in Annapolis this year. They stuck together before the General Assembly on a multitude of issues, sang the same tune for school construction money.

Good thing they did. The county did well, gaining state money for everything from the Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts at Brooklyn Park Middle School to money for the Alex Haley statue unveiled in December at the Annapolis City Docks.

And their success in getting school construction money was formidable.

Last year the county received $13.2 million. The delegation asked for $23 million this year and got everything except $1.5 million for a new roof at Arundel High and planning approval for a new or renovated Marley Middle School. The county got money for 75 projects, including roofing, boilers and wiring for technology.

If we are living in "the platinum age" of school construction, as Gov. Parris N. Glendening says, it couldn't have come at a better time for Anne Arundel County.

A study two years ago estimated that the county needed $400 million to pay for repairs and renovations to school buildings.

The figure may not be quite that high now, but the gap between what's there and what's needed remains enormous.

The county could get another boost when the state distributes funds for aging buildings in October.

That's good, because Anne Arundel should get everything it can to make school buildings function well for children.

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