Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said Thursday he has found seed money for two new high schools for Towson and Dulaney.
Even with that, there are no guarantees those schools will be built for years.
Olszewski said he found a half million dollars in initial planning money for each school in this year’s budget.
He is hoping to break ground on new Dulaney and Towson High Schools in 2023.
But it could be kicked years down the road if the General Assembly next year does not pass legislation giving the county the state’s share of money for school construction. Similar legislation was killed earlier this year but Olszewski is optimistic about 2020.
“I have a lot of confidence that in both the house and senate, we will have partners that will help us get this done and get it over the line this year,” Olszewski said.
The school construction legislation was the only item on Olszewski’s legislative wish list during the 2019 session. It passed the Maryland House of Delegates but stalled in the Senate. It would have meant around $100 million a year for four years for the county.
A new high school can cost between $125 and $150 million.
When Olszewski was running for office last year, he promised to replace Towson, Dulaney and Lansdowne High Schools, all of which are dilapidated. Towson is severely overcrowded as well. He set aside $15 million for Lansdowne earlier this year. It will be built before Towson or Dulaney.
Baltimore County Councilman Wade Kach, Republican, joined Olszewski, a Democrat, at Thursday’s announcement. Dulaney High School is in Kach’s district.
“This is a great day for Baltimore County,” Kach said. “I was always certain this day would come.”
Kach said he attended a meeting Thursday morning at Dulaney High, where he and others strategized on how to lobby the legislature for the needed state money.
“This is going to be a concerted effort,” Kach said.