Commissioners Ready for a Round-Up of School Construction Recommendations

The 21st Century School Facilities Commission gathered a few final details and began discussions regarding the subject of their legislative recommendations at a meeting in Annapolis.

As the 21st Century School Facilities Commission nears the deadline for making legislative recommendations for the 2017 General Assembly Session, Commissioners heard more detail about the State’s role in school construction and discussed potential subjects for recommendations.

It’s nearing decision time for interim task forces preparing recommendations for the 2017 General Assembly Session, including the 21st Century School Facilities Commission.

Items of discussion by the Commissioners included:

  • Whether the Commission’s recommendations for the 2017 legislative session should focus on a re-organization of the Interagency Committee on School Construction (IAC)
  • The Commission’s process for gathering information and reporting recommendations.

Presentations heard by the Commissioners included:

  • A presentation from the Public School Construction Program on their processes and their personnel
  • A presentation from the Maryland State Department of Education on MSDE’s School Facility Branch
  • A presentation from David Lever on construction management options for local education agencies

Questions asked by Commissioners included:

Process and Governance Questions

  • Whether the Public School Construction Program had any suggestions for changes to the school construction process.
  • Whether additional staffing could be added to the Program.
  • Whether some of the smaller school construction grant programs, some of which are not funded each year, or which are allocating less than $25k, could have a shorter regulatory process.
  • Whether there are tasks that the Program could delegate to others that might be able to complete them more efficiently.
  • Whether there are any glaring problems with the IAC that need to be addressed this year.

Funding Questions

  • Whether the state/local cost share of school construction projects could be updated more frequently.
  • Whether state funding disincentivizes local efficiency.
  • Whether more school construction costs should be eligible for state funding.

Construction Methods Questions

  • Whether cooperative purchasing should be allowed on school construction projects.
  • Whether there is sufficient use of Maryland contractors in school construction.
  • The effect of workforce shortages on school construction costs.
  • The pros and cons of prototype design.

Next Steps

Commission Chair Martin Knott distributed a worksheet to each Commissioner for submitting ideas for recommendations by November 21. The Chairman stated that the December 1 meeting of the Commission would be spent discussing possible recommendations.


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