Md. Antes Up School Funds

SNOW HILL – The State of Maryland will come through with the rest of its share of the Worcester County Technical High School construction funds, the county school board learned this week, as well as most of the money for the Pocomoke High School (PHS) renovation.

The Board of Education learned last Monday that the state’s Inter-Agency Committee on School Construction (IAC) has awarded $1,783,000, the rest of the state’s financial obligation for the technical high school, to the county for fiscal year 2009.  

“We have all the state funding for the Worcester Technical High School project,” Dr. Jon Andes, Worcester County superintendent of schools, told the County Commissioners last Tuesday.

The Pocomoke High School renovation project was not quite so fortunate, receiving only three-quarters of the funds hoped for.

“We received an additional $3 million for the Pocomoke High School project,” Andes said. “We have only $1.1 million left for the Pocomoke High School project from the state.”

The IAC also gave state planning approval for the Snow Hill High School (SHHS) renovation and addition, a must before any school building project can be started. That permission was denied last year, delaying the work.

With the IAC’s approval in hand, the school system can now move forward with the design stages of the SHHS project. The school board will request construction permission and funding next year to begin to make the design a reality.

Commissioner Louise Gulyas questioned whether the money was actually available in the state budget, despite the much talked about budget crisis and cuts.

The letter explicitly says the money is there, Andes said.

The school board presented the 10-year school capital improvement program to the commissioners last week.

Showell Elementary School (SES) is next on the list after SHHS, beginning fiscal year 2011 for an addition and renovation to take care of the school’s capacity issues. SES is currently using eight trailers and must turn away pre-kindergarten students.

Stephen Decatur Middle School (SDMS), which has nine classroom trailers, comes next, in fiscal year 2012. All sixth grade students in north Worcester County would then attend SDMS. Berlin Intermediate School (BIS), next in line in fiscal year 2014, would then get a full renovation. Pocomoke and Snow Hill Middle Schools would also be considered for renovation.

All school construction projects depend on state approval.