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Baltimore County Executive pledges $16 million towards new school air conditioning units

Posted: 11:00 AM, Oct 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-02 17:30:37-04

TOWSON, Md. — Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski says he's found $16 million in funds to purchase air conditioning units for public schools currently without them.

On Wednesday, most schools without air had to close due to excessive heat.

The money will be combined with another $13.4 million in state funding awarded by the Maryland Interagency Commission on School Construction’s Healthy School Facility Fund.

By spring 2021 the County says they will install air conditioning at Bedford Elementary School, Catonsville Center for Alternative Studies, Dulaney High School, Eastern Technical High School, Lansdowne High School, and Western School of Technology/Science. As part of the project, Hampton Elementary School will also get a boiler replacement.

RELATED: Several Baltimore County Public Schools will close Wednesday for excessive heat

Of those, Lansdowne High and Bedford Elementary Schools are scheduled to be torn down and rebuilt in the coming years.

Because of the expected demolition of those schools, Olszewski says the new air conditioning systems are just a temporary fix to a larger problem.

The General Assembly in 2019 reserved $127 million in education funding to be used during the 2020 year for local counties to improve aging school infrastructure.

Olszewski says Governor Larry Hogan is withholding those funds, causing a delay in Baltimore County's "Schools for Our Future" program, which would help with future school construction.

Baltimore County says they've already put $15 million toward planning and design at Lansdowne High School and recently committed funds for both Towson and Dulaney High Schools.

WMAR-2 News has reached out to the Governor's office for comment.