Budget compromise called `very good news' for schools

Education Beat

News from Howard County schools

April 10, 2005|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

A legislative budget compromise at the General Assembly would provide $9.8 million more for school construction and renovations in Howard County -- good news for Centennial Lane, Clarksville and Lisbon Elementary schools.

Howard Del. Frank S. Turner, a Democrat who serves on the conference committee, said work on the operating and capital budgets was not complete late Friday, but the compromise would provide $250 million statewide for school construction -- including about $15 million for Howard County. That is about triple the amount of state funding included in County Executive James N. Robey's capital budget proposal.

"I'm extremely happy," said Robey, explaining that the agreement will provide enough state money to restore the $8.4 million he had not funded for school renovations. "We'll fill the gaps," in the school board's capital requests, he said.

"It's very good news," said Courtney Watson, chairman of the school board. "The bottom line is we are hoping to be able to fund the entire capital budget."

The board's list of renovation priorities included money for fiscal 2006 to complete renovations at Guilford and Running Brook elementary schools, and to begin work at Centennial Lane, Clarksville and Lisbon. Planning money also was due for work starting in fiscal 2007 at Clemens Crossing and Waterloo elementaries.

Terri Chiu, PTA president at Centennial Lane, said the renovations are "very important. We have a 25-year-old school. Our air-handling system is being held together piecemeal."

The renovations will also convert open-space classrooms to closed rooms. "I think it will help a great deal with distractions," she said.

"We need to take care of what we have."

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