O'Malley Pushes Back on MoCo Funding
The Maryland Board of Public Works signed off on a plan today to provide $46.3 million for school construction in Montgomery County next year, shy of a $55 million goal to which Gov. Martin O'Malley agreed as he was courting the votes of Montgomery lawmakers during a special legislative session last fall.
O'Malley (D) sought to deflect criticism on the issue by pointing out that Montgomery will get the largest share of the $340 million allocated statewide next year and that the county is faring far better than it did under the administration of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).
During the first two years of O'Malley's term, Montgomery will have received more than $98 million for school construction, compared to $19.6 million during Ehrlich's first two years, O'Malley said during yesterday's meeting of the Board of Public Works, a panel comprised of the governor, Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp (D).
"Was there another county that got as much as $98 million?" O'Malley asked Joe Lavorgna, who oversees school construction in Montgomery County and attended the board's meeting.
Lavorgna had been invited to the lectern by Franchot, a former Montgomery delegate, to explain the ramifications of receiving less funding than Montgomery officials had anticipated based on closed-door conversations during the special session. During that session, lawmakers took tough votes on tax increases and slot machines.
Lavorgna said that some local money would be used to close the shortfall in construction funding and that some projects could be pushed back.
O'Malley asked Lavorgna to give a copy of a chart showing a comparison to the Ehrlich years to his boss, Montgomery Schools Superintendent Jerry D. Weast. O'Malley said spoke recently with Weast by phone.
Lavorgna appeared taken aback by the exchange.
"I'm not here to complain about the state aid," he said.
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