O’Malley proposes $336 million for school improvements -- Gazette.Net


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A proposal for $336 million in spending to build and upgrade Maryland schools will be part of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s (D) budget to be introduced later this month, O’Malley announced Monday afternoon at Overlea High School in Baltimore County.

About $25 million of that money will be designated for air conditioning some of the 180 schools, roughly 13 percent, of Maryland schools that do not have cooling systems to help make learning easier in the hot days of August and June, just after schools open and before they close, said Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D).

Brown said air conditioning creates a healthy environment by reducing allergens and mold.

About $6.1 million is designated for the Aging Schools Program. Another $4.5 million is designated for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, which are used to help improve schools that have a large number of students from low-income families by providing investors with federal tax credits.

O’Malley said his proposal to spend $336 million on school building projects would support 8,199 construction jobs.

“We cannot cut our way to prosperity,” O’Malley said.

Overlea Principal Elizabeth “Penny” Parker said her school, which struggles with leaky windows and hasn’t been renovated since it graduated its first class in 1972, would welcome improvement.

According to a chart the administration used as a backdrop, its request for $336 million is about the same as the state spent on school construction in the 2012 budget year, but less than the $396 million that the state is expected to spend in the current budget year.

mhyslop@gazette.net