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Leggett Appeals To Gubernatorial Candidates For School Construction Funding

By Aaron Kraut

Thursday - 1/30/2014, 3:25pm  ET

County Executive Isiah Leggett (file photo)Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and the leaders of the state’s second and third most populous counties are looking for support from gubernatorial candidates in their push for more school construction funding from the state.

In October, Montgomery County leaders outlined the funding they want from the state in the 2014 General Assembly to address what they called a “school capacity crisis.”

Leggett, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker sent letters this week to each of the three Democratic gubernatorial candidates asking for support:

We are asking you, as a current elected official and candidate for Governor, to support us in our effort to bring additional education funds to Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. These funds would be dedicated solely to capital improvements that will enable us to modernize schools and provide capacity for projected enrollment over the next decade. Our teachers deserve the best environment possible for teaching the next generation of Marylanders and our children require the facilities that will enable them to learn for the 21st century. Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties have invested heavily in recent years in order to make this possible and now we are asking the State to help us meet these demands. The top school system in the country merits nothing less.

MCPS is the state’s largest school jurisdiction with 151,00 students, an increase of 14,599 students since 2000 with a projected increase of 25,000 students in the next 12 years.

The county wants $20 million from the state to go with $40 million from the county to support $750 million in construction bonds to fund new school projects over the next five years. Leggett said the county would be able to construct 56 projects with the money.

Since October, he has joined with Baker and Kamenetz to lobby for state school construction funding in Annapolis and through the county website.

The so-called “Big Three” penned Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler and Takoma Park State Delegate Heather Mizeur — the Democratic nominees for governor.

Brown has said he’ll support getting Montgomery more state school construction money this year. Mizeur has also pledged her support for innovative state funding programs for school construction.

The state last year approved a similar school construction funding plan for Baltimore City.

PDF: Big Three School Construction Letter