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Montgomery County Schools Hope For Help In Securing Expansion Funds

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Montgomery Co. Executive Isiah Leggett with the county delegation announcing they'll introduce the bill at Julius West Middle School in Rockville.
Matt Bush
Montgomery Co. Executive Isiah Leggett with the county delegation announcing they'll introduce the bill at Julius West Middle School in Rockville.

Next year's Maryland General Assembly session will be a true test of how much weight Montgomery County can pull in the state government.

This morning, the county's delegation in Annapolis announced they will seek a funding bill for school construction very similar to what the city of Baltimore received earlier this year. Del. Sheila Hixson says they supported the city's efforts and it's time for that support to be reciprocated.

"We were on their side. Now it's our turn and rightfully due," Hixson says.

Earlier this week, county superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr unveiled a five-year construction plan that calls for 14 schools to be expanded. But that plan also delayed expansions at 20 others, because Starr believes Montgomery County will not get all the money it should from the state.

The city of Baltimore has typically held most of the political power in the General Assembly and the school construction bill passed this year was another sign of that. But Montgomery County is now almost twice as big as the city and members of its delegation, like Sen. Rich Madaleno feel it's time they start using their larger numbers to produce for the county in Annapolis.

"Over the next six years, we're going to add more children to our school system, than most of the school systems have in total enrollment in the state of Maryland," Starr says.

A spokesman for the school system says if this bill is passed and more money comes to them, then some of the expansion projects delayed this week could be put back on schedule.

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