Since 2012, hundreds of Crofton residents have lobbied for the construction of a 13th public high school in Anne Arundel County. Their requests might have recently been answered by Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS).
On September 2, Jonathan Boniface, leader of the group Build Crofton High School (BCHS), sent out an email announcing a major development in the campaign: The construction of a Crofton High School will be included in Superintendent Dr. George Arlotto’s Fiscal Year 2017 capital budget, which was built upon recommendations from an updated school facilities study from MGT of America Inc.
The proposed school will incorporate all five Crofton schools in its feeder system — Crofton Elementary, Crofton Meadows Elementary, Crofton Woods Elementary, Nantucket Elementary and Crofton Middle — and is expected to open for in fall 2020.
“We wouldn’t have reached this point without the support of so many of our community and friends joining in our effort,” Boniface wrote in his email. “From politicians to local businesses to Crofton families, young and old, together we stood tall and presented a rock-solid case for why Crofton needs a high school. As we have stated over and over along the way, this high school will have a ripple effect throughout the county as Arundel and South River high schools become significantly less crowded.”
Boniface and his fellow core organizers, Shannon Hyland and Christi Bruner, came up with a strategy in January 2014. They would continually testify before the board of education and the county council, holding a rally each September and during the public hearings in spring. They would also continually make presentations about the need for a Crofton High School before the Anne Arundel delegation at the Maryland House of Delegates and during legislative priority hearings. They also met up with any and all local candidates running in the 2014 election to get their message across to them as well.
“By following this strategy and meeting with most of the candidates, we were able to promote our cause and gather a strong showing of bipartisan support,” Boniface said.
Before Election Day in 2014, Boniface said his group had the support of House Speaker Mike Busch; Maryland gubernatorial candidates Larry Hogan, Anthony Brown and David Craig; county executive candidates George Johnson and Steve Schuh; House of Delegates candidates Sid Saab, Cathy Vitale, Henry Green and Tom Angelis; and county council candidates Jerry Walker, Andrew Pruski, Pete Smith and Michelle Corkadel.
After the election, BCHS confirmed it had the support needed at every level of state and local government, and then focused efforts on the MGT Study. Members of the group met up with representatives from MGT of America at every opportunity they could get and even presented them with a full report on the data aspect of the need for a Crofton High School.
Now that MGT has given its recommendation, Boniface said, BCHS will focus efforts on getting the board of education to approve the superintendent’s Fiscal Year 2017 capital budget, and the county council to approve the Crofton High School line in the county executive’s budget. Boniface added that Speaker Busch assured him he would make sure the state funds would be there if the county forward funded it.
“This has been quite a community effort, and we owe a great deal of thanks to our elected officials, the school system, the board of education, the media and especially our friends in the community of Crofton that came out in great numbers to support this effort,” Boniface reflected. “Together, we made the case to build Crofton High School.”