A proposed fiscal year 2022 budget and six-year capital improvement plan for Anne Arundel County Schools accounts for the system’s final kindergarten additions, an effort that began in 2005.
“I was hoping to look out my window and see fireworks and all kinds of celebrations going on with all-day [kindergarten additions] finally being completed,” school board member Robert Leib, who represents legislative District 30, said in a board workshop last week.
Though kindergarten additions are poised to finish, schools will keep expanding prekindergarten, said at-large school board member Julie Hummer, as the public has pushed for an expansion in that age group as well.
The last of the full-day kindergarten additions as well as added prekindergarten additions are part of Superintendent George Arlotto’s capital budget proposal for fiscal year 2022. These additions are set at Van Bokkelen, Sunset, Brock Bridge and Meade Heights with a project total of $10 million, an added $1 million compared to fiscal year 2021.
On Wednesday, the Anne Arundel Board of Education will hold a public hearing on Arlotto’s recommendation for the fiscal year 2022 and the six year capital improvement plan.
Arlotto submitted a $234.5 million budget request for construction projects through the fiscal year 2027, maintenance and renovation.
Within the recommendation, ongoing construction at Quarterfield Elementary School, Hillsmere Elementary School, Rippling Woods Elementary School and Old Mill High School West are included. Design and construction at West County Elementary School and Old Mill Middle School South are also included.
These projects would cost over $174 million.
Last fall, the school board voted to replace Hillsmere Elementary, Rippling Woods Elementary and Quarterfield Elementary after reviewing feasibility studies on the school buildings.
The studies recommended the outdated buildings be replaced. All three schools have undergone small renovations or additions, but had not gone through major changes since they were built more than 40 years ago, according to the reports.
The recommendation also has four classroom additions at Southgate Elementary School for $4 million in comparison to the $11 million request for fiscal year 2021 for cafeteria and cafeteria expansion at Arundel Middle Schools.
Funding of nearly $19 million is also still requested for Crofton High School to finish projects like athletic fields and the removal of temporary storm water management pods, said spokesperson Bob Mosier in an email.
The school also needs to purchase more furniture and equipment for the grades as more students enter the school since Crofton High was only prepared to open for ninth and tenth graders this year, he said.
Under the capital budget six year plan, the school system put in requests for designs at Center for Applied Technology-North, Old Mill High School, Old Mill Middle School North, Northeast Area Elementary School and West County High School.
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On Wednesday, the school board will hear testimonies sent in from the public on the budget recommendation before adopting the budget request. After it is adopted, the budget request is submitted to the state.
The budget request is also sent to County Executive Steuart Pittman, as part of the overall budget request for the fiscal year 2022. Before it is submitted to the county executive, the school board will host public hearings.
Also, on the school board agenda is the contract for an online learning management system.
To bolster the online learning environment for schools, the system searched for a learning management system this summer as a way to tailor an online platform to better fit the school system and the curriculum offered.