Governor Larry Hogan today announced plans to propose legislation during the 2019 General Assembly session to provide $1.9 billion in new school construction funding over five years. Called the Building Opportunity Fund, the initiative would give the Maryland Stadium Authority oversight over the new funding, and include accountability measures.
According to a press release:
This proposed new funding is in addition to the $1.6 billion in public school construction funding currently included in the state’s five year Capital Improvement Program, bringing the total proposed state investment to more than $3.5 billion over five years.
The governor made the announcement at Highland Park Elementary School in Landover, Md., where he was joined by Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, Maryland Department of Budget Secretary David Brinkley, State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon, Maryland Stadium Authority Executive Director Michael Frenz, Highland Park Elementary School Principal Wanda Robinson, and representatives from the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA).
The new funding will come from revenue bonds funded by casino gaming revenues. Legislation passed with the governor’s support during the 2018 session created a ballot initiative to ensure casino revenues are used to provide additional funding for Maryland schools. The ballot referendum was approved by nearly 90 percent of Maryland voters in the November election, and will result in an additional $4.4 billion in school funding. The referendum specifies “public school construction and public school capital improvement” as one of the targeted uses for this additional funding.
Governor Hogan will submit the Building Opportunity Act early in the 2019 legislative session, which will provide funding to cover more than 90 percent of the projects requested by local school systems from 2020 to 2024 if enacted. The legislation will give the Maryland Stadium Authority oversight of these additional school construction funds, and include accountability measures.
The new construction projects are estimated to create more than 27,000 new jobs over the five year construction period.
Read the full press release for more information.