Business, Education, Politics

Democrats finally push funds for school construction

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Democratic leaders within Maryland’s General Assembly finally announced plans Wednesday to spend billions of dollars more on public school construction.

The so-called “Built to Learn Act” would involve sending an additional $2.2 billion to local governments to help fund renovating and building schools. The money would come from bonds issued by the Maryland Stadium Authority, according to The Baltimore Sun. The bonds would be paid back over a 30-year window using $125 million per year in casino revenues set aside in an education “lockbox.”

In response, Republican Governor Larry Hogan issued a statement highlighting his own school construction plan.  Hogan’s plan bore many similarities to the Democrats’ plan, but his plan failed to advance in the 2019 session.

“Now that our legislators are finally making school construction a priority, I certainly look forward to working with them to get it done,” said Hogan.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, a Democrat, on Wednesday issued the following statement in response to the announcement of the Built to Learn Act:

“I have proudly led the fight for additional state school construction funding to provide our children and educators with the school facilities they deserve.

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Thanks to leadership of Speaker Adrienne Jones and the Baltimore County delegation, we saw real progress last year as the House passed the Build to Learn Act.

I applaud Speaker Jones, Senate President (Thomas V. Mike) Miller, and Senator (Bill) Ferguson for taking up our fight, and I am confident that they will get the job done this year for communities across Maryland.”

Republican Fifth District Councilman David Marks had this to say on Wednesday:

“Baltimore County historically supplies two-thirds of school construction costs. The State Senate’s failure to pass the Build to Learn Act in 2019 delayed our school construction projects by one year.

Make no mistake – I am happy there is now support for advancing this in 2020, but it comes a year too late. Get it done next spring, please.”

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