School Board Adopts $204 Million Capital Budget, Approves Feasibility Studies for Future Construction
Teacher salaries and other general expenses for Anne Arundel County Public Schools are included in the operations budget that will be presented in December.
The school board adopted a $204.8 million capital budget Wednesday, but school planners say the county may only end up giving them half that amount. The capital budget for fiscal year 2012 was $116.5 million.
The capital budget for Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) focuses on construction and improvement projects. Teacher salaries and other general expenses are split into the operations budget, which won’t be unveiled until December.
The capital budget for fiscal year 2013 weighs in at $204.8 million and will provide funding for construction and renovation projects at 11 county schools. It also sets a schedule for other construction projects at area schools and continues the ongoing process of expanding full-day kindergarten and pre-K classes and converting classrooms to open-space enclosures.
But schools chief operating officer Alex Szachnowicz said county officials have indicated that only $118 million would be approved this year, nearly half of the requested amount.
“We’ve been signaled by way of the county government that anticipated funding would be just in excess of half of that request, as it stands right now,” he said.
Despite hearing that, some school board members deliberated adding $10 million more to further expand the full-day kindergarten classrooms and open-space classrooms at elementary schools. School board member Eugene Peterson (District 21), who sponsored the motion, said now is a prime opportunity to make improvements to schools. However, Peterson’s motion was ultimately voted down by a 3-1-5 vote.
The board approved the capital budget by unanimous vote. It will be sent to the state for review, and will appear before the board again in December before being sent to the county executive’s office in March near budget season.
Six Schools Studied
The board also approved the results of six feasibility studies for upcoming construction at elementary schools. The studies show precisely what kinds of improvements are needed at the schools, and chart a course for completion of the work.
The studies approved included construction costs for Benfield Elementary, which will be undergoing a $18.8 million modernization; West Annapolis Elementary, which will be undergoing an $12.2 million modernization; Lothian Elementary’s replacement at a cost of $18.4 million; Rolling Knolls Elementary's replacement at a cost of $18.9 million; Crofton Elementary's revitalization for $17.4 million; and Mills-Parole Elementary's revitalization for $16.9 million.
In each study, architects and planners looked at five different possible outcomes at the site, given their level of need—replacement, revitalization, modernization, patch-and-paint, or do nothing. In all instances, Superintendent Kevin Maxwell recommended some form of construction.
According to AACPS spokesman Bob Mosier, the total project costs are:
- Benfield, $30.9 million
- West Annapolis, $20.3 million
- Lothian, $32.3 million
- Rolling Knolls, $32.2 million
- Crofton, $34.4 million
- Mills-Parole, $35.6 million
The construction work for these schools and five others are included in the capital budget approved Wednesday.
Board members have said that next year, they will investigate reordering the master list that determines which schools are next in line for renovations.
Editor's note: This article has been revised to correct the construction cost for the revitalization of Mills-Parole Elementary. In addition, the article now includes the total project costs for the six schools where feasibility studies were conducted.