Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III, last week joined Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz in a joint announcement that they would work together to develop legislation calling for additional funding for school construction and modernization.
The county leaders made their announcement with members of their General Assembly delegations, school boards and county councils and school superintendents. According to the three executives, Montgomery, Prince George’s and Baltimore counties make up 44 percent of the state’s student population and 46 percent of the student population receiving free and reduced meals. Additionally, student populations in these counties are expected to increase by 30,000 students by 2021.
“We believe that the state needs to take a serious look at ensuring that all students have the best facilities and classrooms as we prepare them for the 21st century,” Baker said in a news release. “With our growing populations and aging buildings, it makes sense for the state to focus on such a significant percentage of Maryland’s student population, a population that also makes up a large percentage of our most needy children and families.”
Baker said that 32 percent of Prince George’s schools are at least 50 years old, and another 49 percent are between 30 and 40 years old. Currently, the district serves more than 124,000 students.
Baker, Leggett and Kamenetz pledged to continue making “significant, long-term local contributions to capital funding,” according to the release, and are asking the state for assistance. They said they were working with their delegations to craft the funding legislation.