Schools get unexpected funding from Assembly Jockeying for aid results in windfall

April 14, 1997|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

Political maneuvering among bigger powers in Annapolis has brought Carroll County schools a dividend of $406,040 in state money for the next school year.

It's money the schools would not have received otherwise, but it pales in comparison with the millions going to schools in Montgomery, Prince George's and Baltimore counties.

"In these times, every dollar is precious, and we'll plan carefully and put it to good use," said William Hyde, assistant superintendent for Carroll schools.

The millions to the three large counties are part of a school aid package that funnels $254 million to Baltimore schools over the next five years. The money will be accompanied by a larger state role in the troubled city schools.

Although the large counties received millions in grants for specific programs, all counties received grants based on their number of low-income students and grants for fixing aging buildings.

Carroll County will get a $215,040 poverty grant and $180,000 for aging schools. The county also will get $11,000 more for teaching children with limited proficiency in English.

Hyde said the aging schools grant will have to follow specific guidelines about the age of a school and date of last renovations. But the money could go to schools such as Charles Carroll and Freedom elementaries.

The poverty grant most likely would go into the school system's general budget, rather than to create any new programs, Hyde said.

All counties received a poverty grant based on the number of students who receive free and reduced-price lunches. It grew from complaints by counties that Baltimore isn't the only jurisdiction serving poor students.

In addition to the grants based on formulas for poor students, limited-English students and aging schools, the state will give three larger grants to three counties.

Baltimore County will get $2.4 million for a teacher mentoring program. Montgomery County will get $2 million for a gifted-talented program. Prince George's County will get $1.1 million for its magnet schools.

On the other hand, Carroll could fare well in the distribution of school construction money for next year. State Treasurer Richard N. Dixon, a former Carroll delegate, said Carroll's appeal for more money to renovate Francis Scott Key High School will succeed.

But he wouldn't say how much Key will get.

"Francis Scott Key will receive sufficient funding to renovate and modernize," Dixon said. "I'm not supposed to be talking about the amount, because we haven't met on it yet."

The state Board of Public Works, made up of Dixon, Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein, will meet May 7 to announce the distribution of state money for building schools.

Dixon, a former member of Carroll's school board, has been an advocate for Key since he was a Democratic legislator, and he put the building of Oklahoma Road Middle School on the fast track. The Sykesville middle school opened in January.

"I do look at schools statewide," Dixon said. "But I know firsthand the needs in Carroll County because I represented Carroll County so long."

Pub Date: 4/14/97

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