School officials pin hopes for expansion on state's largess $12 million hoped for; plans for 3 projects outlined


Howard County school officials are hoping for up to $12 million from the state to help fund proposed capital projects for the fiscal year beginning July 1, a school official said.

If approved, that figure would double what Howard received from the state for fiscal 1998 for building, expanding and renovating school facilities, Sydney L. Cousin, associate school superintendent for finance and operations, said last night.

The county would provide the balance of the nearly $34 million sought by schools Superintendent Michael E. Hickey for capital improvements. Hickey presented his proposal to the board last night.

"The state is supposed to be a 50-50 partner with the school sys- tem, but that has not been the case with Howard County," Hickey said at a Monday night news conference of his hopes that state funding this year is more generous than last.

"If the governor [Parris N. Glendening] took care of Baltimore City and P.G. [Prince George's] County last year, now maybe if he takes care of Montgomery he'll have some left for us," Hickey said. "He said last year he was aware of our needs. I trust he'll remember that, and I can assure you we'll remind him."

Under the planned budget, two middle schools and a high school in Fulton would be built over the next five years, along with more than 10 additions and renovations in the next decade.

School officials have discussed building the high school in Fulton for years but attempted to avoid construction because of the high cost -- as much as $30 million -- of building additions to all county high schools to accommodate growing enrollment, said Maurice Kalin, associate superintendent of planning and support services.

The bulk of student growth in the county will take place among middle and high school students as the county population ages, school officials said.

"We've had this [high] school in the budget all along and have been studying the data so we could make an informed decision," Kalin said in an interview before last night's board meeting. "This [proposed budget] constitutes a decision."

The Fulton high school would be the system's 11th and is planned to open in 2002.

Pub Date: 9/24/97

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