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More money for Baltimore County schools but needs remain

Trailers at Scotts Branch Elementary School in Windsor Mill. Credit: John Lee

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced Monday the county plans to spend $70 million more than originally expected on fixing and replacing school buildings.

While welcome news at those schools that will benefit, the county still has a long way to go to meet the needs throughout the school system.

After being entertained by the Scotts Branch Elementary School Step Machine, Olszewski told students the additional money means the school in Windsor Mill, built more than 60 years ago, will be replaced, not just renovated.

“This is a $49 million investment in your future,” Olsewski said. “One that you deserve.”

School construction dollars come from both the locality and the state. In the case of Scotts Branch Elementary, Baltimore County will spend $21.5 million and the state will pick up the rest.

Olszewski said other schools will benefit too. They include a replacement school for Red House Run Elementary in Rosedale, and an addition for Dundalk High.

According to a consultant’s report released last year, called the Multi-Year Improvement Plan for All Schools (MYIPAS), it will take $4.7 billion spent over 15 years to bring all county school buildings up to speed. The county’s $2.5 billion plan for school construction spending still falls far short of that.

“We are expecting to raise the bar,” Olszewski said. “We will be exceeding that baseline. The extent to which we do that is yet to be determined.”

Baltimore County School Board member Lily Rowe said the $4.7 billion should be fully funded.

Rowe, who said she is speaking on behalf of herself rather than as a board member, said “Maryland and Baltimore County need to fund all facilities needs outlined in MYIPAS.”

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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