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.