The director of the Maryland agency that funds all school construction projects in the state informed Montgomery County officials yesterday he will recommend approving only about $1 million of the $8.9 million requested by the county school system to fund projects next year.
Yale Stenzler said in a letter to the County Council the $1 million figure for Montgomery projects will be included in a total of $22 million for projects throughout the state that the Interagency Committee for Public School Construction will recommend to the state legislature.
The school board decided last night to ask the County Council to go ahead and seek the $8.9 million total from the state in the hope that Stenzler's recommendation can be modified. If it is not and the county gets only $1 million from the state, the hope is that the county will provide some of the money sought in the expectation that the state will provide reimbursement the following year.
Last year the council approved a $1.96 million remodeling for Gaithersburg Elementary School to be undertaken with county tax revenues after state funds were denied. At the time, county officials hoped the state would provide the money this year. Yesterday, the state agency once more turned down funds for the Gaithersburg remodeling, although Stenzler indicated that if additional money becomes available, the project will get priority.
This year is the second in a row that the state school construction agency has made large cuts in Montgomery's funding requests. Last year, it gave the county $1.2 million, less than half of what was requested. The $8.9 million requested this year in state aid is part of a $15.4 million capital budget for schools. The rest of that budget would come from local sources, mainly bonds sold by the county.
One project the county is seeking is construction of an elementary school in Germantown -- the first of three new schools that Superintendent Edward A. Andrews has said are needed in the next four years to keep pace with growth in the up-county area. The state school construction agency refused to guarantee any funds for the school.
Among the projects the state agency approved are an $831,000 addition at Woodlin Elementary in Silver Spring and $250,000 for portable classrooms.