At this week’s meeting of the Interagency Committee on School Construction, revised rates for the State’s school construction contributions were withdrawn and a communication from the State Public School Construction Program Office indicates that the percentages may be recalculated again.
As stated previously, the original draft percentages for the State’s share in school construction projects were withdrawn from the Board of Public Works August 16th Meeting Agenda. The most recent draft may be altered to reflect more current information regarding county school construction debt, which is one of the factors in the complicated formula governing the State’s share in school construction.
These several delays and changes to the percentages reveal a willingness to revisit the calculations and to make sure the numbers used in the formula are the most up-to-date as possible. For example, following this week’s IAC meeting, the Public School Construction Program reached out to county budget officers requesting updated county debt information to use in the formula.
In addition, there may be an appetite for revising the formula itself. The formula is complicated and may not relate to current school construction funding realities. Either the 21st Century School Facilities Commission, or the Interagency Commission (IAC) could begin the process of updating the state cost share formula in COMAR this fall.
As described by Bob Gorrell, Executive Director of the School Construction Program,
We need to be certain we have all of our information correct, and then potentially revise the COMAR not only for new percentages but possibly even its calculation formula. . . In addition to the under-recognized local debt we have discovered, I think another issue in the COMAR is the point-in-time calculation that lasts for three years. If we do make corrections to the COMAR calculations, I think this ought to be revised so that calculations are done annually and using three-year rolling averages. This would dampen any changes in state / local share. Knowing available funding is important and a few percent, either way, can make it difficult on LEA and County planning decisions.
Below find the percentages that were withdrawn from the IAC Agenda this week. This most recent version would have added an additional 1% increase in the state share in Baltimore County and Prince George’s County. It would increase the state share to Caroline by 1% (the previous calculations would not have increased it), and it would remove the prior revision’s state share increase to Queen Anne’s County to keep it at the lowest level of state share, 50%. And, it would lessen the decreases in state share to Carroll, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Howard and Wicomico by 1%. Finally, it would decrease the state share to Somerset by an additional 2%, for a total drop of 4%.
Click here for reference to the original percentages that were withdrawn from the Board of Public Works.
For more information, contact Robin Eilenberg at MACo.