Gov. Parris N. Glendening cruised the halls of Perry Hall Middle School yesterday, and then announced to local elected and education officials that he intends to give Baltimore County an additional $3.3 million for school construction next year.
The extra money would be used to build additions at the overcrowded Perry Hall middle and high schools, and at Baltimore Highlands Elementary School in the southwestern corner of the county.
The funds mean the county would get $9.3 million of the $118 million the state will spend on school construction projects next year. That's about $3 million more than the county received this year, and almost double the average state grant in the past eight years. Officials had asked for about $25 million.
"We're going to invest in existing schools," rather than continue to build new schools in new developments, the governor said during a news conference outside the county's largest middle school.
If older schools are as up-to-date as new ones, they will not lose their attractiveness, the governor said.
The state Board of Public Works is expected to approve the additional money tomorrow.
"You can pretty well predict what the vote is going to be," said Mr. Glendening, who serves on the three-member board with Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein and Treasurer Lucille Maurer. Both were at Perry Hall with the governor yesterday.
Of the money announced yesterday, $1.4 million would go to pay about half the cost of a 400-student addition to Perry Hall Middle. Construction would begin in June and be completed by next summer.
The addition would increase the capacity from 1,244 to 1,644 students. This year, Perry Hall Middle has 1,428 students.
For Perry Hall High, $1.5 million would be used for an addition there. The school is about 400 students over its capacity of 1,407 this year.
Baltimore Highlands would get about $350,000 for an addition.
Mr. Glendening said he would allocate $4 million in fiscal year 1997 to complete a 500-student addition and renovations at Towson High School. The long-delayed project already has been given $4 million in state funds.
County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III said education and elected officials worked hard "as a team" to get the county its "fair share" of state funds.
During the last years of the administration of Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who left office this year, the county was largely frozen out of state school construction funds after its legislators refused to support Mr. Schaefer's tax proposals.
Yesterday, Mr. Ruppersberger praised the county's Annapolis delegation and the County Council for bipartisan work this year to get more school money.