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WCPS superintendent heads to Annapolis to ask for $2 million in school construction money

The district had originally requested $9 million, but only $6.5 million was allocated by the state

January 23, 2013|By KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS — Clayton Wilcox, the superintendent for Washington County Public Schools, asked the state Board of Public Works Wednesday to restore about $2 million in school construction money that was requested by the school district, but was not part of the proposed capital budget announced by Gov. Martin O’Malley last week.

The capital budget for fiscal year 2014 sets aside $6.5 million for school construction in Washington County, and the district had requested about $9 million.

The meeting at the governor’s office is an annual ritual, where school district officials from around the state ask the board for school construction money that has been requested but not fully allocated.

The state’s Interagency Committee on School Construction usually allocates up to three quarters of requested money.

Wednesday’s meeting was the first step in the process where school districts make an appeal for the remaining money.

The requested $2 million by Washington County includes a million dollars for construction at Bester Elementary School.

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Other appeals include:

  • $742,000 for roof replacement at Clear Spring Middle School.
  • $164,000 to replace windows and doors at Boonsboro Middle School.
  • $117,000 for a heating, ventilation and air conditioning replacement at Funkstown Elementary School.

The school district had initially asked for $4.2 million in state capital funds for Bester Elementary.

The state’s proposed capital budget allocated $3.2 million for construction at the school.

“We are hopeful. Each year that we have come down we have received some portion of it. And if we are not successful we will continue to ask because these projects are important to the community,” Wilcox said after his appeal Wednesday.

In his written appeal to the board, Wilcox said that the school’s community was excited that the construction project at Bester had recently broken ground.

“The construction of this school replaces the second lowest-ranked building in WCPS’ annual facilities assessment,” the appeal letter said.

The proposed capital budget did not set aside any money for Boonsboro Middle School and Clear Spring Middle School.

“The equipment and systems being replaced are beyond their normal service life and in jeopardy of failing,” Wilcox said in his letter.

The school district asked for $535,000 for Funkstown Elementary School, but received $418,000 in the proposed budget.

Other local school capital projects in the proposed budget include:

  • $2.2 million for E. Russell Hicks Middle School.
  • $491,000 for Boonsboro High School.
  • $204,000 for Marshall Street Elementary School.

The Board of Public Works comprises three officials: Gov. O’Malley, Peter Franchot, who is the comptroller, and Nancy Kopp, who is the treasurer.

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