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The Charles County school system is short $2 million in its request for state funding for St. Charles High School. Staff plans to appeal for the remainder of the original $8.2 million request in January, Gerard Barrett, coordinating superintendent of planning and construction for the school system, told the Charles County Board of Education at its Dec. 11 meeting.

St. Charles High School is slated to open in 2014.

In total, the school system is asking the state for $14.8 million and the county for $18.8 million. For the new high school, the school system is asking the state for $8.2 million and the county $10 million. The remaining state funding request is for energy-efficiency initiatives at 28 schools.

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) allocated $25 million for the fiscal 2013 Capital Improvement Program Energy Efficiency Initiative, aimed at reducing the energy consumption of Maryland public schools. To support the initiative, which is being run by the Public School Construction Program, Maryland Energy Administration and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development are allocating approximately $1.5 million in Department of Energy American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to local education agencies for reasonable engineering design costs incurred for projects submitted as part of the initiative.

The state came back with a recommendation of $4.6 million for the high school and funding for 7 of the 28 requested EEI projects, which provide funds to modify lighting at various schools.

Barrett said school system staff appealed the recommendation on Dec. 4 and funding for the high school increased to $6.2 million and the number of EEI projects increased to 15.

Barrett said the school system is faring very well with the recommendations and staff looks forward to going before O’Malley in January.

Cleaning with green

To comply with state law, the school system has a new policy regarding the use of environmentally friendly cleaning supplies.

Policy 3514 states that by July 1, 2014, the system will buy only environmentally safe “green” cleaning supplies.

The supplies must be certified green supplies and the superintendent must determine the products appropriate for use.

After 2014, the superintendent has until June 1 each year to explain to the state why it was not feasible to obtain green products that year.

Supervisor of School Operations Charles Marshall told board members that the school system has already begun purchasing green supplies as a previous bill encouraged the use of green product use by school boards.

Currently six schools use all green products: two elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools.

Board attorney Eric Schwartz said the reason the previous bill did not require green product use was because at the time, two years ago, the products were costly and the quality was not great.

Schwartz said today, the products have come down in price and the quality has improved.

Marshall said the plan is to have three more schools each year using all green products.

The board will take action on the new policy in February.

gphillips@somdnews.com