Arundel school projects may play role in Annapolis-area redistricting

September 18, 2014|By Joe Burris | The Baltimore Sun

As the Board of Education gave its blessing last week to Superintendent George Arlotto's $163.4 million capital budget request, officials said some projects in the budget may affect coming redistricting efforts in the Annapolis area.

Two elementary schools in the Annapolis school cluster, Rolling Knolls and West Annapolis, are among facilities targeted for upgrades as part of the capital budget plan.

West Annapolis Elementary is the subject of a $24 million modernization that will increase enrollment capacity from 274 students to 314. Construction is underway, and the renovated school is expected to open in August 2106. This year's budget seeks $9.7 million toward the project.

The budget requests $15 million toward the overall $36.6 million upgrade at Rolling Knolls Elementary that will more than double its square footage and increase its student capacity by more than 230 students.

Also this school year, Annapolis Elementary reopened after a $28.8 million renovation project.

Alex Szachnowicz, school system chief operating officer, said schools expected to be affected by redistricting are Eastport, Tyler Heights, Georgetown East, West Annapolis and Annapolis elementary schools.

He said as the Annapolis-area construction projects come on line, the redistricting committee will have to keep in mind that West Annapolis could play a role.

"We will tell the redistricting committee ... that West Annapolis is coming on line in August of 2016 — decide whether you want to use some of that capacity in some manner," he said.

Szachnowicz said that the Annapolis clusters' middle schools and Annapolis High School will likely not be affected by the redistricting plans.

The citizen-redistricting committee will include representatives from each school, and will begin its review process Sept. 30. Meetings will be held each week in October, officials said.

The committee is to submit a report in November to Arlotto, who will then bring recommendations to the school board in December.

The board will likely vote on redistricting plans in the spring, officials said.

School renovations make up $101 million of the capital budget, which now goes to state and county officials for review after the school board's 7-0 vote to endorse it.

The largest dollar amount in the capital budget proposal is $48 million for the replacement project at Severna Park High school.

Other projects include $14.6 million for a renovation at Benfield Elementary school and design money to plans projects at Arnold, Jessup, Manor View, High Point and George Cromwell elementary schools.

The request also calls for $11 million in funding for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten additions and $5 million for open-space classroom enclosures.

jburris@baltsun.com

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