The funding subcommittee of the 21st Century School Facilities Commission is coming to consensus on the need for a statewide school facilities assessment, an idea put forth by the new Executive Director of Maryland’s Public School Program.
The high cost of school construction has been a hot topic among county governments and the State. Counties and the State jointly fund many capital construction projects for Maryland’s K-12 educational system.
While there are many different approaches to reducing costs and continuing to meet the needs of the modern educational programs, several key parties seem to agree that a starting point could be a statewide facilities assessment, a check-up on the condition of buildings, to determine the state of Maryland’s schools.
Those parties include the State’s Executive Director of Public School Construction and the 21st Century School Facilities Commission, a body created by the Presiding Officers of the General Assembly.
At the most recent meeting of the Commission, the first item on a list of topics for potential consensus was conducting a facilities assessment.
The estimate of the cost of the assessment is $3.5 million for a full-scale assessment that would be done in less than a year, possibly 10 months.
There is also interest in creating an integrated data system that would capture reporting on facilities from local school boards and allow for ongoing reviews of school conditions. This type of system would come at an additional cost, however.
The Commission is also considering the idea of changing the current funding models to reserve a certain amount of funding for high-need projects. Use of a facility condition index to prioritize funding is something that has been suggested by the Executive Director of Public School Construction.
The MACo Winter Conference will host Martin Knott, Chair of the 21st Century School Facilities Commission, for a conversation on school construction.
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