School Report Done, Legislation to Come

The first major statewide commission on school construction funding in more than a decade has completed its final report and leadership in the General Assembly comment that the bill will be introduced this year.

The 21st Century School Facilities Commission, also called the “Knott Commission” after the Commission’s Chair Martin Knott, wrapped up its work after a year-long extension this past fall in Annapolis. The Commission’s final report has now been released.

As described by Chair Knott, the Report includes many recommendations that can be translated into legislation. Knott writes,

The report submitted to you today includes 36 recommendations that, together, address each of the eight tasks with which we were charged. They include a number of steps that can be accomplished administratively by State agencies and local school systems, but others will require legislative action and/or funding commitments.

Legislation that incorporates the Report’s recommendations will be introduced this year for consideration by the State’s legislators in the General Assembly. In a bill hearing last week on a separate piece of school construction legislation, Delegate Maggie McIntosh, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee shared that the Knott bill would be in her Committee.

Many of the recommendations in the Knott Commission Final Report echo positions in line with MACo’s school construction advocacy over the past few years. Areas of overlap with MACo’s advocacy include:

  • strong state funding for school construction,
  • regulatory review flexibility,
  • square-footage allowances,
  • alternative financing options,
  • cooperative purchasing methods, and
  • eligible costs updates.

A couple of specific recommendations on removing emergency shelter and LEED-silver requirements match MACo’s past positions, too.

The bill also includes a minority statement from Senator Serafini and Delegate Ghrist that recommends that only projects receiving 50% or more of their funding are submitted to the State’s prevailing wage law. This has been a MACo’s position since the threshold was changed from 50% to 25% of State funding.

For more information, read the 21st Century School Facilities Commission Final Report

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