Counties Appeal for School Construction Funds

Limited state funding is key for counties seeking to meet student needs for new and updated learning environments.

As reported in the Capital-Gazette, Anne Arundel County joined counties from across the state in the Governor’s Reception Room to ask the Administration for school construction funding. The Governor’s 2017 capital budget set aside $314 million in school construction funding.

Anne Arundel County requested additional funding from the State to complete high school and elementary school projects throughout the county, as described in the Capital,

Governor Larry Hogan’s budget proposes to give $25 million to Anne Arundel County for school construction projects, but school system officials made their case Wednesday for another $30 million.

Anne Arundel County is one of several counties with increasing enrollment and an aging stock of schools.

As counties seek to address school construction needs, many school construction project costs are coming in far above estimates. When that happens, state funding is often already allocated, and counties are left to supply the difference out of their own budgets to make sure that needed project advance.

According to stakeholders, dramatic cost increases may be due to a variety of factors including:

  • Economic changes in the construction market,
  • Enhanced technology in school buildings (both structural upgrades and classroom technology), and
  • Regulatory requirements such as prevailing wage, stormwater management, emergency sheltering requirements, and energy efficiency standards applied to schools.

Commissioner John Barr, MACo President spoke with Your4State about this issue from the State House yesterday,

Tremendous need for new schools, updated schools and the number of schools that need advancements or rehabilitation are rather staggering… the states and counties together are just finding it more difficult to keep up. -John Barr, President of the Maryland Association of Counties

For more information, read the whole story in the CapitalSchool system jockeys for state construction money and coverage from Your4State, Maryland school officials request more funding for construction projects