Governor’s Capital Budget To Include More than $370M For School Construction

In a follow up to MACo’s blog post on Governor O’Malley’s announcement of more than $370 million in school construction.  The administration is proposing that  $350 million be designated capitol funding for the Public School Construction Program, $15.3 million in the Qualified Zone Academy Bond Program (QZAB), a federally sponsored bond that allows Maryland schools to carry out renovations, repairs, and other improvements (except new construction).  The administration also wants to allocate $6.1 million to the Aging Schools Program which provides funds to all school systems in the State of Maryland to address the needs of their aging school buildings.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Gov. Martin O’Malley said Tuesday he will seek more than $370 million in school construction funding in next year’s budget, making the pledge at the same Anne Arundel County elementary school where six years ago he promised a massive infusion of state money if elected governor.

The figure includes $350 million for the state’s main Public School Construction Program and more than $20 million for two other programs to build and repair schools.

There’s no shortage of demand. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz asked state lawmakers Tuesday to spend $70 million on school construction in his county, on projects including the new Dundalk and Sollers Point Technical high schools, renovations and additions at Stoneleigh Elementary, new windows and doors at Pikesville High School, and a new roof at Hereford High School.

MACo’s Legislative Committee adopted its annual initiatives for 2012, including School Construction and Renovation Funding on this list of top priority items for the 2012 legislative session. From the initiative summary:

School Construction and Renovation Funding

While the State has laudably increased its school construction and renovation efforts in recent years, the need for funding remains high. Every state dollar invested in school projects leverages roughly two county dollars of local funding. MACo urges the General Assembly to continue its commitment by keeping school construction and renovation funding a high priority, and support a funding level consistent with its own adopted multi-year goals. Additionally, MACo urges the State to develop and adopt a new multi-year funding strategy as the current goal expires in FY 2013.

From an analysis last year by the Department of Legislative Services, the proposed $370 million would be the largest sum committed since the FY 2008 budget.

A summary of last year’s projects requested – both funded and delayed – is available online here.

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