MACo Supports Clarifying Public-Private Partnership School Construction Laws

Today, February 18, Robin Clark testified in support of SB224, Education – Maintenance of Effort – Lease Payment Exclusion. This bill would clarify school funding law’s effect on facility lease payments, treating them the same way that debt service is treated under more conventional school financing. The bill essentially treats lease payments paid as rent on private facilities in the same manner as debt service on capital construction projects – properly outside of year-to-year school funding for educational programs.

Current law mandates that county governments contribute the same amount of education funding per-pupil from one year for ongoing educational expenses.  This provision is called maintenance of effort, and nicknamed “MOE.”

MACo’s written testimony states:

This bill would encourage counties to coordinate private investment in school construction, and allow for funding that might have been spent on school construction costs to be used to support school and county government operations in other ways.  The practical effect of this bill is twofold. First, it would avoid an inappropriate “cliff effect” where MOE requirements would oblige funding to continue even after the lease’s expiration. Second, it would avoid treating lease costs as a variable to be funded “per pupil” when the lease itself surely would not require payments in that manner.

Information on all of MACo’s 2015 legislation can be found on the Legislative Database.