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Montgomery County Schools Chief Heads To Capitol Hill

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By Peter Granitz

The superintendent of Maryland's Montgomery County schools told a Senate panel his district could use federal money to deal with billions of dollars in upgrades and construction.

Dr. Jerry Weast says his district has a backlog of construction needs totaling more than $1.5 billion. He says that's a huge burden for residents and the district could use federal money.

He touts school construction as a way to jolt the economy, not just in Montgomery County but across the country.

"I think there are about 14,000 school systems and every one of them has a problem with schools," he says. "Problems with updating them, problems with air quality, or construction. In Montgomery County we keep our schools operating for about 70 years before we modernize or take them out of service in some level."

Last year, Congress failed to approve tens of billions of dollars in school construction as part of the stimulus bill. Some are hopeful money will be included in the Senate version of a jobs bill.

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