MoCo getting an extra $5 million from state for school construction

It’s not exactly the “me-too moment” that County Executive Isiah Leggett proclaimed, but it’s something.

Leggett went all out during the recently concluded General Assembly session to secure a major school construction funding package, just as Baltimore City was able to do in 2013. Montgomery legislators supported the Baltimore delegation, and Leggett announced last October that it was the county’s turn, or its “me-too moment.” In an effort to ease serious overcrowding in county schools, he sought $20 million annually in extra state funding over the six years to leverage borrowing for renovation and construction.

The answer Leggett and Montgomery lawmakers got was, more or less, come back next year. But it appears that Leggett will have something to show for his labors. He told the County Council this week that the state’s Interagency Committee on School Construction is recommending that Montgomery receive $5 million above its anticipated annual payment of $35 million.

The Board of Public Works must approve the committee’s recommendation, and Leggett said he fully expects to receive the money.

“This is good news for Montgomery County and the many students that will benefit from these dollars,” Leggett said in his letter to the council.

In the meantime, Gov. Martin O’Malley has agreed to order a study of alternative methods for financing school construction.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.
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