Balto. Co. to receive school aid windfall State will allocate $25 million for construction projects

April 10, 1997|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County stands to receive $25 million in state school construction money, the largest allocation in decades, county officials said yesterday in reviewing highlights of the General Assembly session that ended this week.

The money -- important in a county where many school buildings are deteriorating -- is a 68 percent increase over the current allocation. And it is more than five times the amount the county received in 1994, the year before County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger took office.

At a news conference in his Towson office, Ruppersberger credited the success to teamwork -- as well as a willingness to help Gov. Parris N. Glendening pass his anti-sprawl package and the $254 million Baltimore schools deal.

"The governor came through for Baltimore County," Ruppersberger said.

"This is the most successful session we have ever had in Annapolis under charter government. Our mission was clearly accomplished."

Surrounded by legislators and county councilmen and displaying charts, Ruppersberger said he has Glendening's support for the state school construction money, which is expected to be approved by the Board of Public Works in May.

In addition, the county got $26.3 million in state aid for schools, community colleges, libraries, highway maintenance and health -- more than any other county. The county also received $7.1 million for capital projects ranging from buying parkland for Honeygo to streetscape improvements for Liberty and York roads.

Ruppersberger also touted several new laws passed by the legislature: restricting drinking at after-hours clubs and exotic dancing, providing legal remedies for job discrimination at small companies, capping the amount of spoil dumped at Hart-Miller Islands Natural Resource Area and reauthorizing the City-County Regional Auto Theft Team.

Ruppersberger praised everyone he could think of associated with the session, from the governor to Sen. F. Vernon Boozer, a Towson Republican.

Both Ruppersberger and county Senate delegation Chairman Michael J. Collins went out of their way to praise Glendening.

Del. Thomas E. Dewberry, a Baltimore County Democrat and speaker pro-tem of the House, said the change from the bickering of 1990-1994 to this session's teamwork has been dramatic. To Councilmen Joseph Bartenfelder and Louis L. DePazzo, who are former delegates, he said, "I don't think you would believe how well we worked together in a bipartisan way."

Among the county's achievements are:

$22.6 million in increased school aid this year. That includes $1.8 million for quick repairs of older buildings, $2.4 million for grants to schools in poor areas, $2.9 million for more teacher mentors and $210,000 for three new prekindergarten programs.

A written agreement to get some of the school aid in each of the next four years -- part of a $25.2 million package the governor has promised over that period.

$3 million starting July 1 and $1 million the next year for parkland in Honeygo, the planned community northeast of White Marsh.

Planning and engineering money for the extension of White Marsh Boulevard from Pulaski Highway to Eastern Boulevard, through land where a motor-sports raceway is planned.

$1.5 million for new community centers in the Turners Station and Hillendale communities.

Pub Date: 4/10/97

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