Thursday, July 13, 2006

Billion Dollar Backlog

We knew it was bad. Last year, Eric Smith's school system task force suggested the maintenance backlog for County schools would be $750 million by 2009. Today's Capital describes the findings from the recently released MGT of America report to the Board of Education. In addition to some small-scale redistricting recommendations, the report examines the conditions of all the schools in Anne Arundel County, and makes suggestions about what to do with overcrowded and poorly performing schools. This recent report puts the maintenance backlog at $1.5 billion, and recommends that 10 schools, including 3 high schools, be replaced. That is almost 4 times the Board of Education's annual budget. This crisis has been looming for some time, and it shouldn't have snuck up on anyone who has been paying attention, but it has, and now something needs to be done about it.

The County needs to make a genuine commitment to knocking down this backlog by $50-100 million/year, and our Delegates and Senators need to procure funding from the State to help augment these funds. The pro-development Ponzi scheme has failed and its time for responsible adults to step up to the plate and make sure our infrastructure stops crumbling beneath our feet.



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