Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. is embracing a 15-year plan to renovate public school buildings that does not include a total replacement for Towson and Dulaney high schools, but called for the state to provide more funding for school construction.
In a letter to state officials Monday, Olszewski withheld his support for local funding projects that did not align with the Multi-Year Improvement Plan for All Schools, a master plan for public school construction in Baltimore County developed by the consulting firm CannonDesign. The consulting firm, hired jointly by school and county government, was charged with spreading limited local and state funds for construction equitably across Baltimore County’s school system.
The plan has drawn ire from some lawmakers and communities who are frustrated that Towson and Dulaney high schools were not targeted for replacement. School advocates have complained for years about burst pipes, dilapidated conditions or overcrowding at the schools.
Baltimore County school board members narrowly approved a capital improvements budget request to the state in September that included the total replacement of the aging schools. Olszewski’s letter to the state Monday counters the school board’s request.The county executive said his job is to find solutions to problems that do not compromise the needs of students.
“I know how transformational a good school experience is,” Olszewski said Monday. He said the MYIPAS plan will address capacity issues and school building conditions in an equitable way over the next 15 years.