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State rejects 23 plans for school construction


Baltimore County schools received preliminary approval for only three of 26 building projects submitted for state funds, and only one of the three was granted state funding.

The county schools asked the state school-construction committee for $11 million, but received only $721,000 for a new roof at Chesapeake High School, said James Kraft, the school system's capital planning manager.

The state also gave the county permission to plan a new Essex Elementary School and add 12 classrooms to Western School of Technology and Environmental Science in Catonsville. The additions at Western will increase the school's capacity from 737 to 1,072 students.

The school-construction committee's decisions are the first step in securing state money for school buildings.

On Dec. 14, the school system will ask the Interagency Committee on School Construction for $2.5 million to replace the aging Essex Elementary, and about $1 million to renovate Cromwell Elementary, which is scheduled to open in September. It will also ask for planning approval to reopen Catonsville Middle and build an addition to Perry Hall Middle School.

The county can appeal decisions to the state Board of Public Works in January.

"We're hoping that we can do a lot better [than $721,000]," said Mr. Kraft. "We have about 12 percent of the students; we're hoping to get our fair share [of the money]."

The county also asked for seven new roofs, six modular additions to elementary schools and six new boilers.

The construction committee's recommendations distributed only about $28 million of the $75 million budgeted for state school construction this year. The rest of the money will be allocated among school districts, some of it at the Dec. 14 meeting, said Yale Stenzler, executive director of the construction committee.

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