Future of Funkstown school questioned

September 06, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • Bailey

Washington County school board member Paul Bailey on Tuesday questioned the future viability of the Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education during a discussion about state funding requests for school construction projects.

Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning work for the Funkstown school were among the items for which the school system will seek state money, but Bailey was concerned about a larger issue.

"The overriding question is: 'Can we afford to operate a school with 118 children in it?'" Bailey asked during a Washington County Board of Education meeting Tuesday.

Funkstown's enrollment is projected to drop from 153 students in 2013-14 to 118 in 2014-15, according to the 2011 Educational Facilities Master Plan.

Funkstown School, built in 1967, has prekindergarten and kindergarten students. It also is temporarily housing some other programs, including the Judy Center, which accommodates students from low-income families in the Bester and Winter Street Elementary school districts but was housed at Bester, Deputy Schools Superintendent Boyd Michael said.

"Mr. Bailey makes a good point. As we look forward to projects, what is the long-range plan for Funkstown?" Michael asked.

Bailey said school system officials already know they're going to be facing budget challenges during the next decade.

During the meeting, the board unanimously approved the list of funding requests to the state for school construction projects.

The list includes funding requests through fiscal 2017-18, although the school system's priorities for the outlying years could change.

The more immediate concern was funding for fiscal 2012-13, for which the school system is requesting:

  • $2,770,000 for the final payment on the new Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School.
  • $4,398,000 for the first installment for construction of a new Bester Elementary.
  • $634,000 for the lease payment for Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.
  • $247,000 for a boiler for Pleasant Valley Elementary.
  • $495,000 for windows for Hancock Middle-Senior High School.
  • $597,000 for Funkstown's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.
  • $277,000 for electrical work at E. Russell Hicks Middle School.

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