BPW Awards $750,000 from Alcohol Sales Tax for Western Maryland School Construction

On February 8, the Maryland Board of Public Works awarded $750,000 in grant money raised by the alcoholic beverages tax to schools in several Western Maryland counties.  Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation that increased the sales tax on alcoholic beverages from 6% to 9% effective July 1, 2011 and provided for FY 2012 supplementary appropriation of $47.5 million to go to public school construction.  Western Maryland (Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington Counties) were guaranteed $750,000 of that appropriation.  The money will go to projects for six elementary, middle, and high schools, with each county receiving a share.

 From a February 8 Cumberland Times-News article:

“The bill created a pot of money of $750,000 for Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll. There was no designation per county and no directions on how the money would be split up. It would be entirely possible that Allegany could receive nothing,” said Randall Bittinger, chief business officer for the Allegany County school system. “Counties submitted proposals and requests for this money and, as expected, the amounts requested far exceeded the amount of money,” Bittinger said. Bittinger credited Facilities Director Vince Montana with working out an agreement between the western counties for allocating the funds.  …

The bill squeezes rural Maryland out of most of the $85 million in revenue expected, with only 6.8 percent of the revenue being distributed between 16 jurisdictions, mostly in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, said Delegate Wendell Beitzel.

“This division is clearly inequitable to the rural areas of the state. … These smaller funds would also have to be stretched much further to have any impact at all,” Beitzel said last year.

From a February 8 Frederick News-Post article:

The state agreed Wednesday to channel more than $230,000 of funding to kick-start the revamping of Frederick High School.  …

The aid will help officials pay for a study of the best way to modernize Frederick High School, which opened in 1939 and is in need of an update, Delegate Galen Clagett said.

“It’s like an English muffin. It’s full of nooks and crannies,” Clagett said of the school.  …

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