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Martirano presents capital budgets

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Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Superintendent Michael Martirano presented his Proposed Capital Budget for school year 2020-21 (fiscal 2021), fiscal 2022-26 Capital Improvement Program and fiscal 2021-30 Long-Range Master Plan during a recent Board of Education meeting.

The board has scheduled a public hearing on the fiscal 2021 Capital Budget and fiscal 2022-26 Capital Improvement Program during its Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. meeting.

Based on information provided by the county for likely bond appropriations for HCPSS, two Capital Budget scenarios were presented. The first scenario reviewed an originally planned proposal based on last year’s board decisions and the second took into account new projections by the county of approximately $41 million-$47 million in capital funding for the school system. The proposals address projected student capacity and existing facility needs in order to relieve crowded schools and support rapid enrollment growth within the anticipated budget allocation.

The first scenario reviewed an originally planned proposal based on last year’s school board decisions and included the funding requests for the Talbott Springs Elementary replacement and Hammond High renovation and addition. It also requested funding to begin the planning for New ES#43 and the Dunloggin Middle renovation and addition as well as other construction projects. This scenario would have a total Capital Budget request of $135.7 million.

The second scenario proposes a $56 million Capital Budget, $399.6 million Capital Improvement Program and $775 million Long-Range Master Plan that prioritizes costs for construction of New High School #13, scheduled to open in September 2023. This project is scheduled to proceed as originally planned and is required because the combined capacity of all high schools will begin to exceed 110% utilization by 2022.

Considering the available funding, the superintendent recommended the second scenario. This recommendation changes the completion schedule for the Talbott Springs Elementary and Hammond High projects, originally scheduled for groundbreaking in June 2020 and October 2020, respectively. A commitment of funds would be needed by January 2020 and June 2020 in order to keep to the original schedule.

The lower than anticipated funding also impacts certain projects included in the Long-Range Master Plan and would be delayed from their original completion dates. The Long-Range Master Plan has been amended to reflect the bonding growth projected by the county budget office. This possibility was discussed with the County Council during the council’s April 29 work session. The changes to the completion schedule would be as follows:

Talbott Springs Elementary replacement: from SY2022 to SY2027
Hammond High renovation and addition: from SY2023 to SY2026
New Elementary School #43: from SY2024 to SY2028
Dunloggin Middle renovation and addition: from SY2024 to SY2030
Oakland Mills Middle renovation and addition: from SY2026 to SY2030
New Elementary School #44: from SY2026 to SY2031
Centennial High renovation and addition: from SY2028 to TBD
New High School #14: from SY2028 to TBD
New Elementary School #45: from SY2030 to TBD

The superintendent’s presentation was immediately followed by a board of education budget work session.

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