Another Way To Skin the School Construction Cat

MACo Research Director, Robin Eilenberg, testified in support with amendments of Senate Bill 92, “Maryland School Overcrowding Reduction Act of 2018”, in front of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on January 31, 2018. This bill aims to change current school construction laws that would increase flexibility for county and local governments in their ability to seek alternative financing for school construction.

While counties support this increased flexibility, in addition to the potential of lowering school construction costs, there are concerns about underlying laws surrounding the treatment of capital leases under school funding rules that are not addressed in the bill.

From MACo Testimony:

While this legislation makes some changes to existing law, however, it does not address a central hurdle to experimentation – a lack of clarity in the treatment of capital leases under school funding rules.

Incentives for counties and school boards to reduce school construction costs could help spur best value development and renovation. The incentive program envisioned in this legislation, however, misses an opportunity to encourage cost-effective practices across all types of construction, whether traditional or alternative.”

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.