Pr. Geo.'s Leaders Defend School Funding
Prince George's leaders are reacting angrily to a suggestion by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. that the county's request for state school construction funds this year was driven by political considerations instead of the needs of children.
In a letter, Miller called the county's priority list "political pandering" because it did not prioritize schools recommended for repair by an independent engineering study. The study identified eight schools in need of rebuilding, the majority in the southern part of the county that Miller represents. Only one of the schools on the list submitted by Prince George's is on the study's list of schools in worst condition, Miller said.
Miller got a quick response: The Maryland Interagency Committee on School Construction this week rejected the county's $137.5 million funding request, asking the county to submit a new request by Feb. 1 or risk state funding for construction.
Our colleague Nelson Hernandez reports that the county school board, with which the request originated, offered Miller a withering rebuke at Wednesday night's meeting.
Pat Fletcher (District 3) criticized Miller's "lack of common courtesy" and suggested his letter would wind up in the trash can. "That letter, to me, can go into file 13," she said. "That's it on Senator Mike Miller. I could go further, but that's it for me."
Chairman Verjeana M. Jacobs (At Large), the board's chairman, repeated that the board intended to honor the promises previous boards of education had made. She guaranteed that children come first under her leadership.
County Executive Jack B. Johnson, who along with the county council, also signed off on the request before it was submitted to the state, picked up the theme at a fundraiser this morning for Del. Carolyn J.B. Howard (D-Prince George's). One attendee said Johnson gave a rousing speech, greeted by a chorus of "amens" from the crowd, defending the county's priorities and its commitment to children.
"He had two guns blazing," said the attendee.
December 18, 2008; 12:28 PM ET
Categories: Rosalind Helderman
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