County Executive Announces $1.5 Billion in School Construction

January 15, 2010

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett today unveiled his six-year capital construction budget, which includes funding for 99 percent of the projects requested by the Board of Education.

Mr. Leggett’s $3.9 billion recommended FY 2011–2016 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) includes nearly $1.5 billion in school construction projects for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)—a 16.8 percent increase over the previous CIP (FY 2009–2014). The plan will add 118 classrooms at nine schools, build a new elementary school and middle school and fund much-needed upgrades to the district’s infrastructure.

Mr. Leggett made the announcement at Paint Branch High School, in Burtonsville, a building that is more than 60 years old and will be replaced with a new facility by 2012. He was joined by President Patricia O’Neill and other members of the Montgomery County Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast, as well as parents and community members from throughout the county.

The County Executive said that during these tough economic times, every dollar was scrutinized and difficult choices had to be made.

“Despite these constraints, this CIP supports my priorities for excellence in local education at the K–12 levels.  I am increasing funding for school construction and modernization by nearly 17 percent, while staying within the County Council’s Spending Affordability Guidelines.” (See the County Executive’s announcement)

Mr. Leggett’s proposal for fiscal year 2011 calls for the school projects to draw on about 58 percent of all the general obligation bonds issued—the highest level in recent history.

Board of Education President O’Neill said the current economy has made this an ideal time to build because construction costs are at historic lows.

“The Board deeply appreciates the County Executive’s support for our capital budget,” Mrs. O’Neill said. “This is the perfect time for us to maximize our spending power by taking advantage of lower construction costs.”

Dr. Weast said continued enrollment growth makes this a smart and timely investment.

“The County Executive is keenly aware that our outstanding school system is one of the main reasons Montgomery County continues to grow and that we must provide our students with up-to-date facilities in which to learn,” Dr. Weast said. “The need is there, and the time is right to build. This is a solid investment in the future of Montgomery County and, on behalf of our students, staff and community, I thank the County Executive for his continued support of education.”

This CIP maintains the FY 2009–2014 construction and modernization schedule, including new buildings for Paint Branch and Gaithersburg high schools. It also adds several other projects including—

  • Expansion projects at Bradley Hills, Darnestown, Georgian Forest, Somerset, Viers Mill, Waters Landing, Westbrook, and Wyngate elementary schools and Clarksburg High School.
  • Construction of a new elementary school and middle school in the Clarksburg cluster.
  • Infrastructure improvements at MCPS facilities, including roof replacements and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance efforts.

MCPS Division of Long-range Planning

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