ANNAPOLIS – Gov. Parris N. Glendening sparred with Bible verses over school construction money with Carroll County delegation leader Sen. Larry E. Haines on Wednesday.
The dueling Bible quotes came as Carroll County commissioners, state lawmakers, and the school superintendent appealed to the three-member Board of Public Works for $4.2 million in additional funds for school construction.
“Withold not good from whom it is due when it is in the power of thine hand to do it,” said Haines, R-Carroll, 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 in December that Carroll receive $6.3 million. The delegation asked the board for $4.2 million more for various 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.
On Wednesday, 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.”
Carroll County Schools 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 Westminister high schools; and completion of Cranberry Station Elementary School.
Delegate Carmen Amedori, R-Carroll, said progress in the county’s schools are 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, R-Carroll, 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.”
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