Baltimore County schools' data center would be combined with the county government's under a proposal by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, part of an effort to save money through consolidations.

Kamenetz and schools Superintendent Dallas Dance said the move would increase government efficiency and free up more money for classroom needs. Officials estimate the move would save the school system between $2 million and $4 million in construction costs for a new data facility, as well as $100,000 in yearly maintenance expenses.

The school system's Department of Technology data center rents space at a building in Timonium, and the lease is expiring. Under the proposal, the schools' center would be moved to the county's data center at the courthouse in Towson by August 2013.

An agreement between the county and school system needs County Council approval. Council members are set to discuss the proposal at a meeting Tuesday, and a vote is scheduled for Nov. 19.

According to the county's auditor's analysis of the plan, site preparation and start-up costs are estimated to total $6 million, compared to $8 million to $10 million to build a new data facility for the schools.

"We have made giant strides so far in using innovation and consolidation to maximize efficiency in general government operations," Kamenetz said in a statement, "and the next logical step is to work together with the school system to save taxpayer dollars and ensure that we are doing all that we can to focus our limited resources on the classroom."

The county and school system have shared an off-site data backup center for the past five years.

Finding ways to save money through agreements with the county government was one of the recommendations made by Dance's transition team.

This summer, officials announced that some school administration employees would move to vacant space in government offices in Towson, saying it would save $1.5 million a year.

Kamenetz merged several government agencies when he took office in 2010.

alisonk@baltsun.com

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