Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) Associate Director Les Knapp supported House Bill 171 with amendments before the House Appropriations Committee on February 2. The bill would authorize the use of $4.5 million in federal qualified zone academy bonds (QZABs) for the Aging School Program. QZAB funding is restricted to certain schools serving lower income children and require a 10% matching contribution from a private entity or business.
Mr. Knapp noted MACo’s support of the Program, which traditionally has provided State general fund monies for school maintenance and repairs not eligible for capital bond funding because the projects do not have a 15-year life span. However, Mr. Knapp expressed concern that the Program’s flexibility would be eliminated if the Program were to be permanently funded through general obligation bonds or QZABs.
Mr. Knapp suggested amendment language stating it would be the intent of the General Assembly that the Aging Schools Program be funded through general funds whenever practicable. He noted such language was not legally binding and did not restrict the State from making adjustments during difficult fiscal times.
MACo submitted written testimony but did not testify on HB 171’s cross-file, Senate Bill 202.