State to give $15 million for county school construction


Baltimore County will get nearly $15 million in state school construction money this summer, more than double the preliminary total approved in December and equal to the highest amount in two decades.

That was the top prize among state actions touted by county legislators and the Ruppersberger administration at a post-General Assembly session news conference in Towson yesterday.

"Finally, Baltimore County has received its fair share of state aid for school construction," County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III said.

Sen. Michael J. Collins, an Essex Democrat and chairman of the county's Senate delegation, echoed the nonpartisan theme of obtaining state money. He said his motto this year was "Baltimore County: It's our turn."

That refers to the recent past, when partisan battles among Baltimore County lawmakers and opposition to former Gov. William Donald Schaefer's 1992 budget hurt the county.

Mr. Ruppersberger said the extra state money would help pay for new Martin Boulevard, Edgemere and Southwest elementary schools; renovations or additions to Perry Hall, Towson and Dulaney high schools; and renovation of Franklin Middle School.

In December the state approved $6.7 million for just four of the county's 29 top projects, worth a total of $30 million. But the county turned out more than 40 legislators, local officials and others for a Jan. 31 Board of Public Works hearing to plead for more money.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening has promised more money for schools in May, Mr. Ruppersberger said.

The governor also granted the county $500,000 for a school mentoring program, an amount the executive hopes to match. The program assigns experienced teachers to schools staffed mainly with inexperienced teachers.

School funding wasn't the only area of interest for county residents in the assembly session.

One casualty was a bill to change a state law that allows people charged with killing their spouses to be found guilty of manslaughter instead of murder if their rage was prompted by even a suspicion of adultery. The issue was raised in the county when two men who killed their wives were convicted of manslaughter, which carries a maximum 10-year sentence, instead of murder, which carries a maximum life sentence.

The county also received:

$11 million more in general state aid.

$5.5 million for Beltway sound barriers at the Interstate 83 interchanges.

$3.6 million for revitalization projects in Catonsville, Essex-Middle River and along North Point Boulevard.

$1.35 million for two new parks in Owings Mills.

$5 million to buy the former Lockheed-Martin property in Catonsville for the University of Maryland Baltimore County bio-technical research park.

Pub Date: 4/11/96

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad