Arundel school board considers capital budget plans

September 05, 2012|By Joe Burris

The Anne Arundel County school board on Wednesday took its first step in considering plans proposed by Superintendent Kevin Maxwell to address the district’s capital improvement and maintenance concerns.

Maxwell presented his $240 million capital budget for fiscal year 2014, a $1.6 billion capital budget six-year plan and a $1.4 billion state-funded capital improvement plan at Wednesday’s regplar meeting. School officials say that the capital improvement plan must be submitted to the state’s Interagency Committee for School Construction by Oct. 5.

School officials said that the school board will conduct a workshop on the capital budget and capital improvement plan on Sept. 11 and then hold a public hearing on the proposals as part of its Sept. 19 regular meeting, when it is slated to take action on the proposals.

The capital budget plan includes $55 million for Severna Park High School construction, $11 million for all-day kindergarten and pre-kindergarten additions, and $15 million for Crofton Elementary School’s renovations.

“The state passed a few years ago a requirement for kindergarten, so we have to move forward with capacity space,” said school board president Andrew Pruski. “The last thing we want is to have trailers and temporary space.”

The six-year plan includes $38 million for Edgewater Elementary School’s design and feasibility study, which will begin in 2016. Edgewater’s parent organization has steadily tried to have their school moved up on the school system’s priorities list, citing air quality concerns at the school.

The superintendent also proposed a comprehensive maintenance plan for fiscal year 2013, which the state requires annually to ensure that schools are being adequately maintained. Maxwell’s $238 million plan covers such items as $66 million for air conditioning systems, $21 million for roofing and $18 million for electrical wiring.

Anne Arundel Schools chief operating officer Alex Szachnowicz said that the maintenance backlog is up from $220 million last year. “As our buildings continute to age, more of our building’s parts become older and older,” Szachnowicz said. “Part of it has to do with inflation and costs.

“But the biggest issue,” Szachnowicz added, “is that the amount of funding that is applied to reducing the backlog is inadequate to keep up with the rate at which we need to fund maintenance items to eradicate the backlog.”

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