School funds debate is divinely inspired

Glendening, Haines quote Bible during Public Works meeting

January 28, 1999|By Natalie Hopkinson | Natalie Hopkinson,CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE

Gov. Parris N. Glendening exchanged Bible verses with Sen. Larry E. Haines, county delegation leader, over construction money for Carroll schools yesterday.

The dueling Bible quotes came as the county commissioners, state lawmakers and the Carroll school superintendent appealed to the three-member Board of Public Works for $4.2 million in additional funds for school construction.

"Withhold not good from whom it is due when it is in the power of thine hand to do it," said Haines, a Westminster Republican, quoting from Proverbs.

Glendening quickly responded with another passage that spoke of having the vision to do the right thing for everyone, then paraphrased the verse with a twist:

"I have a vision that the entire Carroll County delegation will support my budget," he said to chuckles from the audience.

The Interagency Committee on School Construction recommended last month that Carroll receive $6.3 million. The delegation asked the board for $4.2 million more for school projects.

The board, which consists of Glendening, state Treasurer Richard N. Dixon and Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, is expected to decide by May whether and how much to increase the award.

Statewide, the committee on school construction recommended $187.6 million be spent this year.

Yesterday, representatives from 20 of the state's 24 jurisdictions appealed the committee's decisions to the Board of Public Works.

The board has $62 million to fund appeals, said Yale Stenzler, director of the school construction committee.

Dixon, who served eight years on the Carroll County Board of Education and 13 years as a delegate, assured the group he would look out for his home county.

"I come from Carroll County. I grew up in Carroll County," Dixon said. "I'm going to look a little closer at Carroll County's proposal compared to all the other delegations."

Superintendent William Hyde said he needs more money for roof renovation at Eldersburg Elementary; an addition at Spring Garden Elementary; an addition at Sykesville Middle School; science projects for Liberty and Westminster high schools; and completion of Cranberry Station Elementary School.

Del. Carmen Amedori, a Westminster Republican, said progress in county schools is reason enough to award the extra money.

"I think the governor realizes that the county is a leader in many aspects and in order to be leaders, we have to raise leaders," she said after the presentation. "And we have Treasurer Dixon looking out for our interests, so that always helps."

Sen. Timothy R. Ferguson, a Republican whose district includes portions of Carroll and Frederick counties, said he believes the "explosive growth" in the county demands additional funds for schools.

Ferguson, who wanted to make clear that he voted for the last two Glendening budgets, had some advice on using the Bible to bolster an argument:

"I learned a long time ago not to use the Scripture in a debate," he said. "The Bible is a two-edged sword because it can be used against you as much as it can help you."

Pub Date: 1/28/99

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