ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. -- A school district that not so long ago was struggling under the weight of a $2.1 billion backlog in building repair and replacements is now expecting its second consecutive year of major help from the state of Maryland.
On Thursday, Anne Arundel County Schools announced it is expecting an additional $16.6 million for major school construction projects in the final round of state funding deliberations.
That brings the total amount allocated by the state in the coming fiscal year to a record $44.6 million.
"We have found, obviously, that newer facilities, better educational environmental environments spur more academic success as we upgrade our facilities,” said Bob Mosier, Chief Communications Officer for the school district.
Mosier said among the biggest financial needs are the completion of the new Severa Park High School and renovations at Manor View and High Point Elementary. All told, 18 schools stand to benefit from the influx of money.
“It’s very important to upgrade at all levels of the school system. Certainly elementary schools, that’s the foundation of student learning and you’re building successes that will carry on to middle and high school so we need to attack this issue at all levels of our school system,” said Mosier.
“This is just phenomenal news for our school system, our employees, and, most importantly, for our students,” Superintendent George Arlotto said. “We have worked very hard over the years to improve the educational environments for our children, and the state has been a key partner in that effort."
According to Mosier, many of the schools in need of attention, including Severa Park, are around 50 years old.
“Our school is extremely old and falling apart,” said Riley Richardson. “We have paint chipping and a lot of old things, old desks and chalkboards and things that need a lot of repair.”
Richardson said there are also pest control issues with the music rooms, bathroom problems and students feel the squeeze in the hallways and lunchroom.
Other issues pop up when the calendar changes.
“Some classrooms and areas are worse than others and it depends on the season and the weather,” said Richardson.
According to documents released by the superintendent’s office other schools that stand to benefit from the expected money include West Meade Early Education Center, J. Albert Adams Academy, Woodside, Jones, South Shore, Shipley’s Choice, Odenton, North Glen, Crofton Woods, Maryland City, Millersville, Jessup, Arnold and Ridgeway Elementary.
High Schools expecting help include Chesapeake and South River High School.