Montgomery Expects More School Money
Montgomery Council officials expressed bewilderment yesterday over an initial allocation of school construction funding included in Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed capital budget for next year: about $20 million.
That was more than any other Maryland jurisdiction received but still a far cry from the $55 million that County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and Montgomery lawmakers are expecting next year in exchange for some delegation members' support of O'Malley's agenda in November's special session.
Leggett was sure enough of the figure that he alluded to it in his State of the County address last month, saying he anticipated Montgomery receiving "as much as $55 million" in school construction money from Annapolis.
The process for divvying up school construction dollars in Maryland is convoluted and far from done. On Wednesday, O'Malley (D) proposed spending $333 million next year, but he spelled out where only $225 million of that should be spent. The remaining $108 million still needs to be allocated -- a fact O'Malley noted in an interview yesterday.
"We're not done," he said after an event in Baltimore County at which he promoted his $333 million proposal. "We're only midway through the process."
Asked about the $55 million figure cited by Montgomery officials, O'Malley said: "That's their goal, and I'm going to do my best to get to it."
Leggett said yesterday that the initial $20 million included in O'Malley's plan "would not be consistent with what we expect."
"I'll have to talk with the governor to find out what that means," Leggett said. "We made a very strong case for that. He understands that."
Leggett spokesman Patrick Lacefield said the county had expected more than $20 million in the first round in order to meet the $55 million mark by the end of the process.
-- John Wagner and Ann E. Marimow
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