Today Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced that the Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) increased its state funding recommendation for Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) priority construction projects by nearly $8 million dollars, bringing the total state funding recommendation to $28.6 million out of a requested $40.3 million.
“Ensuring the completion of these three critical school construction projects is a top priority of my administration,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “While I am encouraged that the IAC increased its recommendation of State support for our school construction efforts, fully funding the requests for High School #13 and Talbott Springs, there is work left to do to secure the remaining state requested funding for the Hammond High School project.”
The adjusted IAC recommendation elevated the Hammond High School Renovation and Addition project from a B local planning status and a C funding status, both to A statuses, adding $5.37 million of prior year appropriations for recommended state funding out of a requested $14 million to the project after recommending no state funding to support the project in December. Additionally, the IAC state funding recommendation for the Talbott Springs Elementary School Replacement project increased by $2.6 million through prior year appropriations, fully funding the $8.2 million in requested state funding. The $15 million state funding request for High School #13 was recommended by IAC to be fully funded in December. Final approvals on funding levels for projects in the FY2022 capital budget will be made by IAC in May.
“Last year, the Maryland General Assembly passed historic levels of capital funding and investment in our children’s education and the facilities that serve their needs,” said Maryland Senate Budget and Taxation Chair Guy Guzzone (D-13). “I’m pleased that the IAC is putting these State funds to good use and is providing support and investment for critical school construction and renovation projects in Howard County.”
“Ensuring funding for Talbott Spring Elementary School replacement is imperative to the health and educational standards of our future leaders,” said Councilman Opel Jones. “Replacing Talbott Springs Elementary School is well overdue, and I am delighted that the Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) has increased their funding our school systems necessary projects.”
“I’m thrilled that the IAC has increased its funding recommendation for Hammond High School and Talbott Springs Elementary School,” said Councilwoman Christiana Rigby. “Every additional dollar of State funding received for these projects brings us one step closer to their completion. I appreciate the continued efforts of the Howard County Public School System, the County Executive and State Delegation leadership to prioritize and advance these critical school construction projects.”
“This increased funding for critical capital projects is welcomed and appreciated,” said Howard County Board of Education Chair, Dr. Chao Wu. “We will continue to proactively seek the additional funding required for the Hammond High School renovation and addition as it is essential to update the current building and ready it for anticipated growth.”
“As Howard County continues to be one of the fastest growing counties in the state, it is critical that our capital planning requirements are met,” said HCPSS Superintendent Michael J. Martirano, Ed.D. “We anticipate welcoming 8,500 additional students over the next ten years and want to ensure that our schools have the operational capacity and functionality to account for this large increase while avoiding disruptive comprehensive redistricting efforts. The renovation and addition project currently underway at Hammond High School was long overdue and is an essential component to our long-range capital planning.”
The recommended increase in State funding marks another positive step in County efforts to complete construction of the top three priority school construction projects: the new High School #13, the Talbott Springs Elementary School Replacement and the Hammond High School Renovation and Addition projects. Last year, County Executive Ball took the unprecedented step of leveraging a transfer tax increase to provide $68.7 million to the HCPSS Capital Improvement Program (CIP), exceeding the Board of Education (BOE) request by $14 million and providing the funding needed for all three priority projects to begin construction last year. The transfer tax increase provided a one-time authorization of $19.7 million in bonds for school construction, providing the highest level of County funding in 14 years and offsetting deferred state aid, allowing all three projects to remain on schedule.