The Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) published the FY 2021 Maintenance of Maryland’s Public School Buildings Report, detailing an overview of maintenance assessments conducted at selected schools in each Maryland public school system.
The report provides an overview of all Maryland public schools, based on a sampling of 268 schools from around the state, as well as county-specific profiles on the conditions of school facilities. (The overview begins on page 16 and the county-specific reporting on page 22).
Maintenance costs are generally 100% the responsibility of the county government, and school boards differ in their maintenance programs, some developing highly successful and cost-saving models.
According to the report, every county, or Local Education Agency (LEA)’s, average overall rating in FY 2021 decreased, with an average downward shift of 11%. Of the 268 schools rated in FY 2021:
- 2 schools (0.7%) were rated Superior;
- 61 schools (22.7%) were rated Good;
- 131 schools (48.9%) were rated Adequate;
- 72 schools (26.9%) were rated Not Adequate; and
- 2 schools (0.7%) were rated Poor.
Notably, this year’s report features some changes from previous years:
Following the General Assembly’s passage of the 21st Century School Facilities Act, the IAC in 2019 began developing and testing with LEA input a new Maintenance-Effectiveness Assessment (MEA) and implemented it for FY 2021. The new MEA differs significantly from the old MEA in that it:
- Covers more aspects of facilities maintenance, including the category of Maintenance Management, which includes maintaining and following preventive-maintenance (PM) plans and the use of a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) in certain ways;
- Is based upon clearer and more objective standards that are keyed to outcomes;
- Utilizes a published rubric that describes criteria for each rating level (Superior, Good, Adequate, Not Adequate, and Poor) for each major building-component category, which facilitates greater consistency across assessments and supports increased reviewability;
- Weights the various building-component categories to better reflect their impact on the utility of the facility;
- Recognizes deficiencies in maintenance that pose a potential or immediate threat to occupants or the expected lifespan of the facility;
- Allows LEAs to request the elimination of a given score penalty resulting from an assessed major or minor deficiency when the LEA has timely provided sufficient evidence that the deficiency has been remediated or is in the process of being remediated; and
- Is more transparent because the rating standards, criteria, and scoring formula are all publicly available on the IAC’s website.
Last week, the Workgroup on the Assessment and Funding of School Facilities heard from the IAC about a slate of nine proposed categories under which the Facility Condition Index (FCI) and educational facilities sufficiency standards could assess public schools for FY 2022.