Councilman says Montgomery needs to ensure ‘fair share’ of school funding -- Gazette.Net


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As Montgomery County seeks more money from Maryland for school construction, members of the County Council also want to make sure the county is getting its fair share of school construction funding from the state under the current arrangement.

Montgomery has joined with Prince George’s and Baltimore counties to push for legislation to provide more money for school construction, with Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) joining Prince George’s Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz in Annapolis on Jan. 14 to raise support for the measure.

Councilman Phil Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg said that along with pushing for more school funding, Montgomery needs to make sure it gets its fair share of school construction funding.

Andrews spoke at a Monday briefing by Melanie Wenger, director of the county’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations.

Last year, Montgomery received 11 percent of school construction funding while Montgomery County Public Schools educated 17 percent of the students in the state, Andrews said.

Wenger said it will have to be seen if the three counties get any “severe” pushback on the proposal. No bill has been filed yet, she told the council members.

Montgomery officials are requesting $20 million more from the state to go along with up to $40 million in county money to help finance about $750 million in bonds to fund school expansion projects.

Council President Craig Rice (D-Dist. 2) of Germantown, said Monday during a press briefing that the county has had some good conversations so far in Annapolis on the need for more school funding.

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) understands the needs of Montgomery’s school infrastructure, Rice said.

Montgomery is slated to receive $22 million for school capital projects in fiscal 2015 in O’Malley’s proposed budget, according to a county memorandum.

The projects included $1.8 million for Beverly Farms Elementary School in Potomac; nearly $5.5 million for Glenallan Elementary School in Silver Spring; $8.2 million for Herbert Hoover Middle School in Potomac; and nearly $6.5 million for Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville.

Among other capital projects included in O’Malley’s proposed budget are $259,000 for a renovation of the Kensington Park Library and $128,000 for a renovation of the Twinbrook Library, along with $1.9 million for various renovations at hospitals in the county.

rmarshall@gazette.net