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Morgan makes annual school funding appeal

January 26, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan asked the state Board of Public Works on Wednesday for more school construction money for the district.
By Andrew Schotz, Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS — Washington County made its case for another $3.1 million in school construction funding on Wednesday, on top of nearly $6 million already in Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed fiscal 2012 budget.

Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan appeared before the state Board of Public Works in Annapolis on Wednesday as part of an annual tradition.

School officials from across the state come before the board once a year to ask for more money, beyond what their districts were promised.

For years, the often pleading practice was nicknamed the "Beg-a-thon," but O'Malley calls it the "Hope-a-thon."

O'Malley has pledged $250 million to school construction projects in fiscal 2012.

Seventy-five percent, or $187.5 million, is divided up in the budget.

The remaining 25 percent, or $62.5 million, is discretionary. School systems appeal to the Board of Public Works for more money from the remainder.

O'Malley's budget includes nearly $6 million for five Washington County Public Schools projects, including:

  • $2.5 million for the new Antietam Academy, which recently opened
  • $2.3 million for the planned Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School
  • $634,000 for the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts
  • $363,000 for windows at Smithsburg High School
  • $195,000 for a boiler at Boonsboro High School.

In writing and in person, Morgan also asked the Board of Public Works for:

  • $1.7 million more for Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School
  • $761,000 more for Antietam Academy
  • $396,000 to replace a roof installed at Pleasant Valley Elementary School in 1991
  • $270,000 to replace windows and doors installed at Northern Middle School in 1980.

Morgan was accompanied by Deputy Superintendent Boyd Michael and Rob Rollins, the executive director of school operations for the district.

State Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot asked Morgan why Washington County doesn't have a specific graduation requirement for financial literacy, as a few other Maryland school systems have.

Morgan said the state calls for financial literacy to be "embedded" in all of the curriculum, meaning it's taught in conjunction with other lessons.

The series of construction funding appeals was scheduled to take less time this year because only 19 of the 24 school systems were asking for more money and five of the 19 made their requests in writing.

The appeals usually go in alphabetical order by county name, but this year, the order was reversed, so Washington County went first.

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