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PTA Says Time to Rebuild Edgewater Elementary

School's parent organization wants Board of Education to push for construction upgrade before 2016.

When Edgewater Elementary School was built, Dwight Eisenhower had just been inaugurated as president of the United States. In fact, lots of things have happened in the 58 years since the school was built. 

During this time, Edgewater Elementary has gotten a few tweaks, first in 1964, then in 1985. But a facelift 26 years ago doesn't nearly move the school to the heights of the technology as other schools in the area are using.

The PTA at the school is asking parents to attend a 6:30 p.m. meeting tonight (Nov. 10) to address concerns regarding building conditions.

But how does one go about getting the folks who control the construction list to pay attention?

The PTA decided that making noise will be the best bet.They are asking parents to come with questions, ideas and energy.

"We want to discuss what we have accomplished thus far and where we are headed," PTA president Jenny Corkill.

Advocacy efforts so far

In October, Corkill went to one of the Board of Education's regularly scheduled meetings. During the time reserved for public testimony, she took her talking points and made the best of the two minutes she was allocated.

Her presentation made a difference. A couple of weeks after her testimony, Board Member Amalie Brandenburg, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Alex Szachnowicz and the head of maintenance for AACPS along with County Councilman Jerry Walker (R-7th District), came to the school for a tour.

"We met for 90 minutes, voicing our concerns regarding the health and safety issues and the overall poor condition of the building and how these impact our children on a daily basis," Corkill said.

During the tour, Corkill said that the decisionmakers were really listening. "I feel as if our concerns were heard," she said.

Corkill said that there is a persistent musty smell in some of the classrooms, with ceiling tiles that are water-stained and buckling. Around windows and walls, there is peeling paint.  

Aside from these visible problems, many parents believe that building itself is a cause for health problems in certain classrooms. Corkill said that since the beginning of school, three parents have removed their children from the school because of health concerns.  

"In addition, a study conducted by an outside consulting firm, hired by the Anne Arundel County Board of Education, has given Edgewater Elementary the second worst score for condition of all schools in the county," Corkill said.

We are at 117 percent capacity and growing. However the school is not scheduled to begin any phase of renovation until at least 2016. 

One of the board members told them that the effort to get on the "CIP" (construction improvement plan) would be a marathon, not a sprint.

Corkill said that the quality of education and learning spirit is amazing at Edgewater Elementary, but the climate in which children are expected to learn does not come close to meeting those same standards.  

"Our children cannot afford to wait until 2016 for talks of renovation to begin," she said. "Our children and community deserve better."

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