$209 Million Reduction in Funds Will Delay Some Projects
ROCKVILLE, MD – The Montgomery County Council approved a $242 million Fiscal Year 2009 Capital Budget and $1.28 billion six-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP) for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Thursday, which is $209 million less over six years than requested by the Board of Education.
The capital budget will fund much-needed new classroom space at several schools and provide additional resources to enhance school security and classroom technology. However, because of the funding reduction by the County Council, several projects will have to be delayed. Specifically, the Council delayed Paint Branch, Gaithersburg, Seneca Valley and Thomas Wootton high school modernization projects one year beyond the Board's request and delayed the Wheaton High School modernization two years beyond the Board's request. In addition, gymnasium projects at North Chevy Chase, Westbrook and Cold Spring elementary schools were delayed two years.
The Council also reduced funding for three systemic projects – Improved (Safe) Access to Schools, Planned Life-cycle Asset Replacement and Roof Replacement. The Council fully funded technology modernization requests for FY 2009, but reduced the amount for middle school technology projects between FY 2010 and FY 2014.
"We have enormous building needs in our community, but unfortunately the county simply doesn't have the resources to meet all of our needs over the next six years," said Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools. "We will continue to work with the Council and the State to try to get the funding we need to provide the classroom space necessary for our students."
The Board of Public Works approved $46 million in state funding for MCPS Wednesday, down from the $55 million expected by MCPS and local elected officials.
"Members of the Board of Education worked very hard as a team to approve a fiscally responsible capital budget and Capital Improvements Program and we appreciate the Council considering our request," said Board of Education President Nancy Navarro. "While the approved funding will meet some of the needs, the shortfall will only cause our list of unmet needs to grow. We'll keep working to do everything we can to obtain funding to meet our system' s facilities needs."
Projects included in the six-year CIP:
* Reopening of one elementary school in the Downcounty Consortium to accommodate overuse at Oakland Terrace and Woodlin elementary schools
* Construction of 14 school additions
* Planning and construction of nine new elementary school addition projects
* Beginning modernization of three high schools, three middle schools and 12 elementary schools
* Construction of 19 elementary school gymnasiums
* Construction of facility improvements to two middle schools
* Funding for new initiatives in the School Security and Technology Modernization projects
* Funding for systemic projects such as Planned Life-cycle Asset Replacement; roof replacement; heating, ventilating and air conditioning; water and indoor air quality; and improved safe access to schools.