MACo Speaks at School Business Official’s Conference on Getting the Most Out of School Construction Funds

MACo’s Brianna January spoke at the 2022 Association of School Business Officials conference on how to not leave any school construction money behind.

MACo Associate Policy Director Brianna January was invited to speak at the Fall conference of the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) on getting the biggest bang for school construction and capital project bucks.

The November 16 90 minute panel titled, “Nobody Ever Wants to Leave State CIP Money on the Table” sought to offer strategies and best practices for leveraging all sources of school construction funding. The session description read:

In the era of increased State investments in infrastructure, LEAs and County officials are increasingly becoming concerned about how they will come up with the significant amount of local “matching funds” required to leverage all the increased state CIP funding levels.  Nobody ever wants to leave State CIP money “on the table” or left unused.  We all know the State/Local cost share split works on a wealth adjusted sliding scale, but even with that, we may see several localities struggling to come up with the local matching requirements.  New IAC funds are allocated each fiscal year and matching funds are typically required to access those or they will not be awarded.  MSA funds all must be spoken for (along with a commitment of local matching funds) by 2026 unless any legislative extensions are granted to MSA. The panel will discuss various strategies that their localities are using to come up with their local matches. Finally, MABE & MACo will speak about any legislative strategies that might be beneficial to LEAs.

January emphasized the diverse and complex fiscal responsibilities of counties, the varied capacity between counties, and the importance to ground all funding priorities in the understanding of these realities.

On strategies to get the most out of school capital project funding, she highlighted the following:

  • Protecting local flexibility and authority to set funding and administrative priorities;
  • Leveraging other funding partnership opportunities that do not place a local match burden on counties, like accessing federal government, nonprofit, and private-public grants and collaborative projects; and
  • Communicating regularly, transparently, and as early as possible on funding needs, changes, and expectations with county government.

Joining January on the panel were leaders in school construction funding:

  • Alex L. Szachnowicz, P.E., Chief Operating Officer, Anne Arundel County Public Schools;
  • Chris Trumbauer, Budget Officer, Anne Arundel County Government;
  • John R. Woolums, Esq., Director of Governmental Relations, MABE; and
  • Chris Morton, Supervisor of Facilities Management, Harford County Public Schools

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