State Passes Funding for Schools, Open Space, Youth

Increased funding for school construction, partial restoration of funding for Program Open Space and the protection of funding for youth services were among the wins for Rockville during the 2016 Maryland General Assembly that concluded April 11.

State lawmakers passed legislation doubling – to $40 million – the state’s supplemental school construction funding levels for schools with significant enrollment, beginning in Fiscal Year 2018, which begins July 1, 2017. Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recommended FY 2017-2022 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget assumed the increased funding, which will provide $15.5 million in supplemental aid to county public schools over the six-year CIP.

Rockville received, for the second consecutive year, a $1.3 million grant for road maintenance and small infrastructure improvement projects. While this is the fourth consecutive year the state provided a one-time restoration in the highway user revenue, lawmakers still did not address a city priority of permanently restoring funding cuts made by the state during the Great Recession.

The legislature approved restoration of some of the money that was drastically cut from Program Open Space during the Great Recession. The state aid, which was used to plug holes in the state’s general fund during the recession, goes toward creating parks and recreation facilities.

The FY17 state budget includes $1.8 million for youth services bureaus, such as Rockville’s Community Services Division. The budget also includes language that guarantees funding at the current level and states that the money cannot be used for another purpose. The Community Services Division uses the money to provide prevention and intervention services to at-risk youth.

In the capital budget, Rockville will receive $100,000 in state aid toward improvements to the Rockville Swim and Fitness Center locker rooms and to make other parts of the center compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

For more details on these state legislative priorities, contact Linda Moran at lmoran@rockvillemd.gov or 240-314-8115.