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Maryland Politics
Posted at 02:40 PM ET, 01/09/2012

O’Malley to propose $350 million in school construction funds


Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, left, with House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel). (Patrick Semansky — Associated Press)
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) on Tuesday will propose spending more than $350 million next year on public school construction, the second highest total in state history, according to several people familiar with his plans.

O’Malley will cast his proposal as one of several initiatives meant to spur job creation as the state recovers from the national recession, aides said. The governor has scheduled two other announcements this week of agenda items for the 90-day legislative session that are also aimed at creating jobs, they said. The session starts Wednesday.

Tuesday’s announcement is being staged at Germantown Elementary School in Annapolis, a venue O’Malley has used in the past to highlight his stated commitment to funding school construction.

In late 2005, as he was gearing up to challenge then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) in 2006, O’Malley used classroom trailers at the school as a backdrop to blast a dropoff in construction funding under Ehrlich and pledged to do much better.

During his first year in office, in 2007, O’Malley proposed a record $400 million in spending, a level he has not matched since.

As a candidate for re-election in 2010, O’Malley returned to the same school in Anne Arundel County to highlight school construction spending during his first term. At the time, a new school was being constructed at the site. On Tuesday, O’Malley will see its completion, aides said.

Last year, lawmakers approved $250 million for school construction during the current fiscal year under the state’s capital program, which is funded through general obligation bonds. An additional $47.5 million was earmarked from an increase in state’s sales tax on alcohol.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) will join O’Malley at Tuesday’s announcement, according to people familiar with its planning.

By  |  02:40 PM ET, 01/09/2012

 
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