Are Faults in Facility Maintenance Contributing to School Construction Needs?

The House Appropriations Committee will meet today to make budget decisions. Included in those decisions are often budget language requiring certain reports from State agencies. Earlier this week, Appropriations subcommittees voted on budget decisions and report language in each of their subject matter areas — including education.

The House Appropriations Committee’s Education and Economic Development Subcommittee recommended adoption of budget language requiring the Interagency Committee on School Construction to report on the relationship between facility maintenance and school construction.

The recommended budget language states,

The budget committees are interested in understanding the extent to which failures in school maintenance contribute to increased public school construction costs. . . In addition to identifying the areas of improvement within each jurisdiction, the report should recommend best practices for school maintenance that should be implemented in order to avoid the need for future costly school construction projects.

The connection between facility maintenance and school construction costs was raised by Governor Hogan in his first Board of Public Works meeting. MACo has asserted that the cumbersome process for nonrecurring cost approvals may contribute to issues in local school facility maintenance. For example, in the past few years, the State Board has rejected county applications for nonrecurring cost expenditures to bring parking lots and gyms into ADA and OSHA compliance, finding they were ineligible.

For more information, see our previous posts: Are State Laws “Part of the Problem” With School Maintenance?, Governor Hogan Voices Support for School Maintenance Over Replacement, and MSDE Releases 5-year Report on Maintenance of Effort Exclusions.

The subcommittees will report these decisions to the full Appropriations Committee and the full Appropriations Committee will hold its decision meeting today at 1 pm.