Calling it a critical investment for schools, infrastructure and housing, County Executive Ike Leggett last week released his capital budget for fiscal year 2018.
In his proposed Capital Budget, Leggett said he wanted the County to invest $2 billion in education, most of which would go to school construction during the next six years.
“This FY18 Capital Budget and amended six-year Capital Improvements Program represent critical investments in schools, jobs, transportation and housing while also being prudent with future borrowing,” said Leggett in a statement.
Specifically, Leggett proposes $1.73 billion for Montgomery County Public Schools in order to fund the construction of four new schools and renovations at 11 others in the County. Leggett also proposes $331.7 million for Montgomery College that will go to road and parking improvements and add a turf soccer field at the Rockville campus.
Leggett’s proposed capital improvement spending would fund school construction for the County’s growing school system. According to MCPS, student enrollment is projected to increase at about 2,500 students a year and the County is overdue for capital improvement to schools.
“The school system is far behind in providing adequate classrooms for its students. We need resources over and above current county and state capital expenditures that would provide approximately 1.34 million square feet of instructional space to serve more than 13,500 students,” according to a 2015 MCPS report.
Leggett’s proposed Capital Improvements Programs come as he is traveling the County to get community feedback on as he forms his budget. For FY 18, the County is projected to have a $138 million budget shortfall at the County level and a $209 million budget deficit at the state level.
“And of course, when the General Assembly is in session in Annapolis, we have to be concerned about changes that may come from the General Assembly that could cost Montgomery County money as well,” Leggett said of the state’s budget at a forum in Bethesda.
In addition, Leggett also proposes $49 million for development in White Oak, $48.4 million for the County’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit system, $17 million in general infrastructure improvements for bridges and facilities in disrepair and $2 million for resurfacing rural roads.