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County Budget Shifts School Construction Schedule

Crofton Elementary, Severna Park High schools are moved up on the construction schedule under the proposed budget.

Cries for help at some county schools went unanswered, but other school projects were moved ahead on the list of scheduled work under next year's proposed county budget.

On Thursday, the Anne Arundel County Council approved 83 amendments to the proposed fiscal year 2013 budget, including several shifts in the school construction schedule.

As a result, work is slated to begin for a new Severna Park High School in 2014, and renovations at Crofton Elementary School moved up three years to start next spring.

Students are expected to move into a new Severna Park High School by December 2016, a date that’s two years earlier than how things were left in the fiscal year 2012 budget. However, that’s 10 months later than what County Executive John R. Leopold proposed in his draft of next year’s budget in April.

Councilman Dick Ladd (R-5th District), of Broadneck, said he was reluctant to push back Leopold’s target date for the school, but called it a reality check for the county’s financial situation.

“The adjustments here today represent recognition of some fact-of-life changes on the ground, and how quickly we can get started on these,” Ladd said.

Next year’s proposed budget allows for construction to begin in the spring for renovations at Crofton and Mills Parole elementary schools and the replacement of Lothian Elementary School.

Severna Park High and Rolling Knolls Elementary work was moved into fiscal year 2014, and West Annapolis Elementary School is slated to begin in fiscal year 2017.

hundreds of parents and teachers came out to address the county council on the order of improvement for the county’s 125 schools. Many complained of issues of mold and structural problems at their schools, and said work needed to begin sooner rather than later.

Three last-minute amendments relating to county schools would have answered some of those cries for help, but never made it to a vote. These initiatives would have paid for three separate $225,000 feasibility studies at Arnold, Edgewater and High Point elementary schools. These studies are the first steps in getting construction work lined up.

When these motions were considered for a vote, they received no second, and failed.

Ladd said seeing those attempts for funding fail was, “painful.”

“It had to do with affordability, and where they stay in the stack,” Ladd said. “We just don’t have the money to go out and get those started.”

The council is scheduled to vote on the final budget at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

Christina Calhoon May 26, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Absolutely ridiculous. Arnold elementary is a health hazard, yet they are being passed over. Some of these schools that are getting funded are not essential improvements. I'm sorry if some other schools were on the list first, but when it comes to health issues, certain things need to come first. If someone comes into an ER with a gash in their head, bleeding profusely, do we say sorry, but thus guy with a cut in his ark was here first so you have to wait? No. I don't have kids at Arnold Elementary, but these are ky neighbors. We as a community need to take care of our teachers and our kids. Ignoring flood and mold problems is unacceptable and disgraceful.
Maryellen Brady May 28, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Just goes to show us that Jerry WALKER is not an effective council rep for the 7th District. He has failed the people of Edgewater and our children. It is time that we take a really serious look at who will represent us in the future. He certainly shows disdain for our needs. Our children are getting sick each day they attend the school. In one case a child with Cystic Fibrosis, left Edgewatere for Mayo and is doing better. In a far more serious situation, a child was sick so often, they were threatening to remove her from her parents custody. And behold, she now attends Central Middle and is no longer sickened by going to school. Who represents us matters. And the people of Edgewater, a community founded in 1932 have been subsidizing GROWTH for AA county for many years. The problem is that we get all the garbage: sick school, deterioriating South River etc.. and none of the benefits. Enough is enough.
Amy Leahy May 28, 2012 at 01:25 PM
@ Maryellen Brady: I suppose all these problems are due to Mr. Walker, who has only been a county councilman for 2 years? He is the only Republican on the county council who manages to 'reach across the aisle' and work with the Democrats on certain issues.
D. Frank Smith May 29, 2012 at 03:21 PM
To Walker's credit, he did put in an amendment for Edgewater Elementary funding, it just didn't have the support of the rest of the council. Similar to what Ladd experienced with Arnold Elementary, and Fink with High Point Elementary. Of course, take it for what you will that these three amendments were the last to be entered among more than 80, and it received a little over two minutes of discussion in total during the budget meeting.
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