St. Mary’s County to Request State Aid For New School Construction

The St. Mary’s Board of Education has submitted its state capital improvement plan to the Board of County Commissioners, requesting $12.7 million in state aid for the construction of a new elementary school. The Washington Post reports,

Despite the completion of a 200-seat addition to Leonardtown Elementary School two years ago, the school already exceeds capacity, as does Evergreen Elementary School, which opened last year, said Kim Howe, the schools’ coordinating supervisor of capital planning and construction.

Even if the proposed school, which would have a capacity of 644 students, opens by the start of the 2015-16 school year, county elementary schools are projected to exceed capacity within two years.

Leonardtown Elementary opened this year with about 690 students; it has a capacity of 613. Evergreen Elementary has about 675 students this year; its capacity is 644. Both schools will probably top 700 students by the end of this month, Howe said.

To qualify for state aid, a school system must show that its schools are overcapacity by at least half the population of a future school, when the school is approved, and that it will be able to fill the school once construction is completed, Howe said.

“We were in a very good position last year. One of the things we had to do was show a capacity need,” which is clearly demonstrated, Howe said. The other requirement is a school site, which now is in place at the Hayden Farm, near Leonardtown.

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