One in four new schools approved for state funding in the past four years is being built beyond designated growth boundaries.
"As Gov. Martin O'Malley pushes for a record $400 million in state spending to build, expand and renovate schools across Maryland, some are questioning whether school construction policies and practices are undermining the state's decade-old fight against sprawl.
"Why are so many of our schools being built out in cornfields where nobody can walk to them?" asks Dru Schmidt-Perkins, executive director of 1000 Friends of Maryland, a group that advocates compact development.
She and other critics say local and state officials are still building too many "megaschools out in the middle of nowhere," which aggravate traffic, air pollution and childhood obesity. Sprawling, distant schools also weaken the role the facilities could play as community centers, they argue, while costing taxpayers as busing budgets balloon."