Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett today announced his recommended Fiscal Year 2008 Capital Budget and proposed amendments to the FY 07-12 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) that includes $49.2 million in additional funding for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and Montgomery College. Leggett’s recommendation fully funds Montgomery College’s requested budget and funds a plan that lays the groundwork for reducing the number of portable classrooms used in the County. The CIP contains 30 amendments, including projects for improving safety and responding to State funding changes.
“In my first opportunity to focus County resources on my priorities, I am adding nearly $50 million to improve education in the County, including fully funding Montgomery College’s budget request,” said Leggett. “This budget includes development of a plan that lays the groundwork for a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to phasing out the use of portable classrooms. As a grandfather with a grandson who is in a portable at a County elementary school, I personally understand the impact relocatables have on students and educators. As County Executive, I am committed to reducing the number of portable classrooms in the County.”
Leggett is recommending CIP amendments to add $13.8 million to the MCPS budget. Leggett stated that over the next year, as the level of State aid for local school construction is established, he will continue to work with the Board of Education, the County Council, and the local community to develop a comprehensive plan for reducing portable classrooms. Already fully funded in the Fiscal Year 2007-2012 CIP are 14 school additions, one new school, one reopened school, and the modernization of 16 schools that will reduce the number of portable classrooms from an all-time high of 719 last year to about 373 over the next six years.
Leggett’s proposed amendments for MCPS also include funding to upgrade laboratory space at Poolesville and Wootton High Schools, stadium lighting at Clarksburg High School and a cost increase for modernization of Galway Elementary School.
The CIP fully supports Montgomery College’s request for an additional $35.4 million to support the Commons renovation, Germantown Access Road, Rockville Physical Plant Building, Rockville Science Center, roof replacement, Science East Building renovation, Science West Building renovation, and an increase in the Takoma Park Campus Expansion project for furnishings and equipment. The Bioscience Education Center will remain on the approved schedule and the Takoma Park Fine Arts Pavilion renovation will occur in fiscal years 2009-2010.
Leggett is recommending two projects to improve safety -- reconstruction of the Burning Tree Road Bridge and the first phase in reconstructing the storm drain system in the Town of Chevy Chase. In addition, the CIP includes redesign of the Brookville Service Park project to locate the fueling station within the current limits of the facility.
Leggett transmitted his CIP recommendations to the County Council for their approval. Under a 1996 County Charter amendment, a new CIP is developed in even-numbered calendar years. In off years, like this year, the Executive recommends and the Council approves a capital budget for the next fiscal year and amendments to the existing six-year CIP may also be considered.
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