MACo Associate Director Les Knapp testified in support of and offered an amendment to HB 86, which was heard by the House Appropriations Committee on February 8. The bill would authorize the State to issue $15.9 million in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs). The money would be distributed in accordance with the criteria of the Aging Schools Program, through competitive grants and the Breakthrough Center Program.
Mr. Knapp expressed support for the QZAB funding, but stressed that replacing the use of general funds for the Aging Schools Program with general obligation bonds or QZABs imposed significant restrictions on how the money could be used and diluted the purpose of the Program, which is to provide funding for school maintenance and repairs that do not qualify for capital funding. He requested that the General Assembly add intent language that when it was practicable, the Aging Schools Program should be funded with general funds, in keeping with its purpose. Intent language is not binding and Mr. Knapp acknowledged it would likely be some time before State general funds would be available for the Program.
HB 86 testimony.