Balto. Co. schools get $3.7 million more for capital improvements

Officials and parents had lobbied for additional state funding in January

March 08, 2003|By Jonathan D. Rockoff | Jonathan D. Rockoff,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore County school system will receive an extra $3.7 million from the state next fiscal year to pay for renovations and other capital projects, said Matthew Joseph, the county's education liaison.

The state Board of Public Works awarded the funding Wednesday, after County Executive James T. Smith Jr., Superintendent Joe A. Hairston, other county officials and parents lobbied in Annapolis.

The school system is slated to receive a total of $6.7 million in state funding for its capital needs in 2003-2004. That is far less than the $31.4 million it requested, but county officials hope they can secure more money.

"It's less than what we wanted, but it's still a positive step," Joseph said.

He said the Board of Public Works is expected to allocate another $23 million statewide.

Under the funding approved this week, Joseph said, Sparrows Point and Dumbarton middle schools will each receive $1.5 million to pay for renovations, and Randallstown High School will receive $772,000 to upgrade science laboratories.

Previously, the Board of Public Works awarded $2.9 million to fix roofs, replace a boiler and upgrade science labs at several schools. But the board had denied funding for planned renovations at seven middle schools.

That prompted county leaders and parents to lobby Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and other Board of Public Works members in Annapolis last January.

Arbutus, Sudbrook Magnet, Middle River, Ridgely and Southwest Academy middle schools remain without funding for their planned renovations, part of a $560 million county program.

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