ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Marylanders may soon see the results of their votes pay off for local schools.
Gov. Larry Hogan has announced plans for $3.5 billion for school construction over five years. The plan is the Building Opportunity Fund, a direct result of voters passing a constitutional amendment that requires all of the state’s casino revenue to go to education.
Hogan made the announcement Tuesday at Highland Park Elementary School in Landover, Maryland.
He said the new casino lockbox law means more money for school construction.
“All the casino revenue will go directly into the classroom as was originally promised more than a decade ago,” Hogan said.
Much of the money will be available as the result of a constitutional amendment approved by Maryland voters last month. It requires the state’s portion of casino revenue set aside for education to be used to enhance education spending.
Advocates had rallied to make sure the lockbox amendment passed, with voters feeling the state had failed to fulfill an original expectation that casino revenue would add to school funding.
But rather than adding to it, it was used to replace funding the state was already obligated to pay.
The new law prevents that and means an anticipated $4.4 billion in additional funding over 10 years.
Hogan says he will introduce legislation next month to create a new fund for school construction. He says it would create $2 billion in additional new dedicated funding for school construction.
He said this means nearly all school construction and renovation projects could be funded.
He says the state already has received $3.7 billion in funding requests, and the new fund would enable the state to fulfill nearly all of the requests.
The proposal goes to the general assembly next month.
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)