Stoneleigh Elementary parents are hailing what looks to them like another step in the right direction.
Renovations at the school, which last year were at No. 23 on a list of the school system's capital budget priorities, came in at No. 5 this year. It is the top project not to have previously received state construction funds. The list will be officially introduced in the Baltimore County Board of Education's meeting on Aug. 9.
Juliet Fisher, a parent who leads , said she is cautiously optimistic.
"I probably won't feel 100 percent comfortable that we're getting a new addition and renovation until we're breaking ground on the addition and renovation," she said.
Under the school system's recommended timeline outlined with the list, the 200-seat addition at Stoneleigh could be completed during the 2013 fiscal year.
Stoneleigh is one of the most crowded schools in Baltimore County. The 81-year-old school began last school year with 629 students, against a capacity of 499.
Even though the school is now much higher on the county's priority list, that status comes with no guarantees, and Fisher said parents shouldn't become complacent.
"It's still not [certain] in these difficult budgetary times that it's a guarantee that we'll get funding," she said. However, "I think it's extremely important and hopeful that we moved up to No. 5 and it's obviously a project that the school board is showing their commitment to."
At its July 12 meeting, the school board approved a $1 million contract with the Towson firm Rubeling and Associates to design the renovation and addition at Stoneleigh.
"I think it's good they moved up the list," said County Councilman David Marks, who has lobbied the board to speed up the process.
Marks said he was surprised by one addition to the list: funding for a new school in the Lutherville area is listed at No. 7. He surmised that the new school could reduce stress on According to the school system, Riderwood operated with 528 students last year. Its capacity is 463.
"I don't know where they would put that [new school], to be very frank," Marks said.
The board's meeting on August 9 begins at 7 p.m. in the Education Support Services building at the . The public is invited to attend.