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School Officials Team Up, Head To Annapolis For More Money

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Growing populations and aging facilities. That’s what Maryland’s three largest counties say they’re dealing with when it comes to public schools. Tuesday, the “big three” joined together in Annapolis to push for funding.

Monique Griego spoke with educators at Baltimore County schools.

The money would be used to improve school buildings, as well as build new ones. Tuesday, educators showed us some of the problems they’re dealing with.

Baltimore County leaders say Relay Elementary is just one of many schools dealing with extreme overcrowding, an aging building and a desperate need of funding.

“We do the best we can with the space that we have. Our teachers are very creative with the way they use the physical facilities here,” said principal Lisa Dingle.

The need for more classrooms and better facilities led county executives from Baltimore, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties to join together Tuesday in Annapolis. They pledged to develop legislation to secure funding for school construction.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has previously said he’d ask for $123 million for Baltimore County for renovation and construction. The money would supplement a proposal to expand and rebuild several schools, including Relay.

“It is extremely necessary to the success of student achievement,” said Dingle.

At Relay, cramped rooms have to have multiple uses–even hallways are used as classrooms. Growing enrollment forced the school to turn four trailers into classrooms. On a rainy day, having to go from the building to a portable isn’t an easy commute for students.

“It makes it a challenge,” said teacher Mary Martin.

Martin says being under one roof would improve safety and learning.

“We would have more instruction time with our students, because we wouldn’t be spending two to three minutes traveling back and forth,” said Martin.

“Having the capacity to hold all the children we have in Baltimore County will definitely facilitate student learning,” said Dingle.

The total cost for Baltimore County’s proposal to renovate and rebuild schools is estimated to cost $600 million. That includes the state’s share of the cost.

According to Kamenetz, 84 percent of Baltimore County schools are more than 40 years old.

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