Carroll schools officials to request an additional $5 million from state

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Several Carroll County school officials, including Superintendent Charles I. Ecker and facilities director Ray Prokop, are expected to appeal to state officials today for an additional $5 million to help them pay for construction projects related to crowded schools, aging buildings and all-day kindergarten.

The appeals will be made during a Board of Public Works meeting in Annapolis at which Ecker and school officials from around the state are expected to ask for more funds for projects.

Topping Carroll's list will be more money to build classrooms needed to accommodate all-day kindergarten.

The state has committed to partial funding for additions at Spring Garden Elementary in Hampstead, but made no allocation to help school officials build additional classrooms at Westminster and Carrolltowne elementaries.

"We're going to appeal for the balance of the funding," or about $378,000, for classrooms needed at Spring Garden, Prokop said.

Schools officials also plan to appeal the state's decision to deny funding to build additional classrooms at Westminster Elementary and Carrolltowne Elementary in Sykesville. The state's portion of those projects would be about $1.3 million for Carrolltowne and $1.1 million for Westminster, Prokop said.

"If they don't [fund those projects now], it would be problematic for us," he said. "It means next year's work is that much harder."

Carroll schools officials also are expected to seek additional funding for renovation projects at schools with aging heating and air-conditioning units.

Prokop said district officials will ask for $1 million toward upgrades to the heating system and the addition of air conditioning at West Middle in Westminster, as well as $1.34 million to replace the heating and air-conditioning system at Robert Moton Elementary in Westminster.

Ecker said Robert Moton's system is about 29 years old.

"It's just about twice its useful life," Prokop said.

In addition, school officials plan to appeal the state's rejection of planning approval for Ebb Valley Elementary, a school the district wants to build in the northeast portion of the county to relieve crowding at Hampstead and Spring Garden elementaries.

While the state does not help fund expenses associated with planning a new school - such as architectural and engineering services or a site survey - its approval of the planning process generally indicates to local school officials that the state is likely to help fund construction.

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