Construction of schools – Rue Conduit

As the legislative session of 2022 approaches, MACo is profiling some major issues that should gain attention in the work of the General Assembly. Here we have an overview of school construction and capital projects.

In the 2021 legislative session, the General Assembly overturned Governor Larry Hogan’s veto on the Blueprint for the Future of Maryland, setting in motion a complete overhaul of the state’s public education and how where it finances and completes school construction and capital improvement projects.

Designed to learn Act

Adopted in 2020, but based on the General Assembly’s waiver of the governor’s veto over the master plan, the Built to Learn Act, has been delayed in its implementation. The Built to Learn Act of 202 codified certain percentage allocations of new funding from Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) revenues to six of the state’s largest jurisdictions, while reserving the remaining 11.5% for projects of the other counties in the state.

According to the thematic documents of the legislative session 2022 of the Ministry of Legislative Affairs:

Following the General Assembly’s vote to override the veto in February 2021, the Built to Learn law immediately came into effect, although the law’s funding mandates for fiscal year 2022 no longer apply. due to delayed implementation. Built to Learn Act authorizes the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) to issue up to $ 2.2 billion in tax bonds, backed by annual payments from the Education Trust Fund, for school construction projects in the State, in particular to support a possible public-private project. partnership in Prince George County.

MSA plans to issue a total of $ 2.0 billion of bonds to fund the program, although changing market conditions may affect the final total amount. Exhibit 1 shows the mandatory distribution of Built to Learn funds based on the estimate of $ 2.0 billion of total proceeds.

As of October, the IAC had approved 14 projects eligible for public funding estimated at $ 391.8 million under Built to Learn bonds. These projects included 3 in Anne Arundel, 4 in Baltimore, 3 in Charles and 1 in each of Carrol, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties. MSA issued the first set of bonds totaling $ 293 million in November.

School facility assessments

After a two-year delay, the statewide assessment of public school facilities was completed in July. In the meantime, the School Facility Assessment and Funding Working Group has reviewed the assessment results and made important decisions on how the data can be used to support the prioritization of school funding. State for school construction projects. The working group also considered updates to the state / local cost-sharing formula, benchmark allocations of eligible gross area for school construction, and other issues related to capital projects. A final report is expected by the end of the year.

  • Establish the Local Revolving Loan Fund to help low-debt counties finance school construction projects;
  • Request the Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) to help address concerns about enrollment projections;
  • Require the IAC to study the determinants of gross area baselines for school construction projects eligible for state funding in accordance with the Master Plan for the Future of Maryland;
  • Create a state-funded incentive to add 5% of state funding per “green” project a school undergoes, which would make the school a net zero carbon facility;
  • Suggesting that the Priority Fund begin in FY27, funded to the tune of $ 80 million per year;
  • Propose that the IAC may use evaluation data to provide context in IAC programs, but not to determine funding decisions within programs, until May 1, 2026; and
  • Recommend the creation of a new legislative working group in July 2024 to determine the Maryland Condition Index (MDCI) categories and weights to be used for the Priority Fund in FY 27.

Coming for the 2022 legislature

The recommendations of the School Facilities Funding and Assessment Task Force will be drafted into legislation and presented to the General Assembly for consideration in 2022, likely with little debate, but there is still potential for modification.

Additionally, MACo is hopeful that legislative and / or executive leaders will address low enrollment projects temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on national / local school funding formulas.

Stay tuned Conduit Street to see how school building and other major issues are being tackled in the 2022 legislative session.

Read the full DLS articles (review of school building starts on page 67).


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