Superintendent Arlotto unveils $172 million recommended capital budget for Anne Arundel schools

Rachael Pacella
Contact Reporterrpacella@capgaznews.com

Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto unveiled his recommended $172 million capital budget for fiscal 2020 Wednesday morning.

Arlotto’s budget includes money to begin a long-awaited transformation of the Old Mill cluster.

The budget was mentioned at a Board of Education meeting Wednesday, but wasn’t discussed by members. A public workshop is scheduled for Thursday evening, in which the board will review the proposal in detail, and a public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26. The budget must be approved by the county council next year.

Arlotto seeks $116.5 million from the county and $55.5 million from the state for the system’s fiscal 2020 capital budget. That’s $44 million less than his recommended fiscal 2019 budget.

His reccomended budget includes money to study or design the first three projects in a 10-year, $700-million-plus plan to rearrange, build and replace schools in the Old Mill cluster as the area's population increases.

The proposal includes money for feasibility studies for school replacements that are part of the Old Mill plan— $947,000 for Quarterfield Elementary and $1.2 million for Rippling Woods Elementary.

It also includes $10 million to design Old Mill High School West, which is slated to be built on the former Papa John’s farm property in Severn.

The Old Mill projects have been championed by parents from the cluster for years, who say the improvements are long overdue. But Old Mill High School West faced opposition at public hearings this spring for the fiscal 2019 budget, when people raised concerns about traffic and safety because of the site’s proximity to Archbishop Spalding High School.

The six-year capital plan approved by the county council this spring, as part of the fiscal 2019 budget process, has money for those three projects coming in fiscal 2021. That plan has $2.7 million for Quarterfield Elementary, $4.3 million for Rippling Woods and $6.2 million for Old Mill West in fiscal 2021.

Arlotto is asking to pull the start of those projects forward a year with this reccomended budget.

Old Mill Middle School North parent Jenifer Brienza, part of Fund Old Mill School Construction, said her daughter was an infant when the Old Mill schools were first listed as a priority in the county — now, her daughter is in 8th grade and won’t see new buildings.

After the meeting Brienza said she’s very pleased the first three schools in the Old Mill plan are in the recommended 2020 budget, and also glad to see the other four schools included in Arlotto’s recommended six-year plan.

In his fiscal 2020 budget reccomendation Arlotto also asks for:

  • $24.4 million for Crofton Area High School construction
  • $24 million for Edgewater Elementary renovation
  • $19.3 million for Tyler Heights Elementary renovation
  • $16.3 million for Richard Henry Lee Elementary School renovation
  • $4.7 million for George Cromwell Elementary School renovation
  • $784,000 for a feasibility study for Hillsmere Elementary School renovation.
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