School Board Liability Bill Passes Senate

SB 575 County Boards of Education – Limit on Liability has passed the Senate on third reading 32-14.

As described in the fiscal note, this bill increases the liability limit on a county board of education and the minimum amount of liability coverage a county board of education must maintain from $100,000 to $400,000. The bill also makes a corresponding change to the State Board of Education’s existing statutory requirement to establish standards for these comprehensive liability insurance policies.

During the debate on the floor, senators discussed how the limits were last increased in 1976 and are due for an update. Other senators noted that increasing liability caps will potentially burden to the taxpayer, if it leads to claims that exceed school boards existing budgets.

County governments are, with the state, the main funding sources for Maryland school boards, thus any increase in expenses of school boards could put additional pressure on county budgets. Also, to the extent that county governments and school boards have pooled insurance programs, insurance rates could increase.

The bill will now proceed to the House of Delegates.