The Baltimore County Board of Education formally asked the state Tuesday night to earmark $74.8 million for major construction projects in fiscal year 2013 such as a new building to house Dundalk and Sollers Point high schools.
The board unanimously approved the funding requests, which included 21 proposed projects, during its meeting at Eastern Technical High School.
The board is meeting at different schools to spur more community participation.Superintendent Joe Hairston is scheduled to present the budget requests on Dec. 20 to the County Council, which would then vote on the proposed requests on Jan. 12.
The $18.4 million requested for the Dundalk/Sollers Point High School construction is the board’s top priority and adds to the $12 million already approved for the project.Other top capital budget priorities include $2.4 million and $1.7 million to complete renovations and additions to Milford Mill Academy and Parkville High School, respectively.
In addition, the board is also requesting $552,000 for a new roof at Seven Oaks Elementary in Perry Hall and about $6.26 million for renovations and additions to Stoneleigh Elementary in Towson.
“Many of these top priorities are to assist us in getting projects already underway completed,” School Board President Lawrence Schmidt said. “This priority list was established based not just on current population needs, but based on future outlooks.”
The latter was welcome news to parents at Stoneleigh Elementary who have quickly organized to address overcrowding concerns at the Towson school.
Jodi Schuleman and Amy Freeman are among those parents.
Each testified Tuesday that the school has 675 students enrolled there, which puts it at 135 percent capacity.
“We’re busting at the seams,” Freeman said after the meeting. “We have representation at every school board meeting and events and we’re constantly trying to meet with elected officials to let them know our concerns.”
Schuleman added: “It’s just one step in our battle tonight, but it was a vital one.”
Schmidt said it is important for parents across the county to be united while pushing for their respective schools as each project faces added scrutiny during a time of tight budgets at the state and local levels.
“Having an active and engaged parents is a key component to any school system,” Schmidt said.