The State has published its report on approved projects under the Capital Improvement Program Projects for schools for fiscal year 2024.
According to the IAC’s report, CIP funding from the State:
Is intended to be used to build new and replacement schools, to renovate facilities, and to replace major building systems that keep school facilities educationally sufficient. The program includes the Enrollment Growth and Relocatable Classroom (EGRC) program, which provides additional funding to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) that have high enrollment growth and/or depend on a significant number of relocatable classrooms.
The report’s transmission letter, penned by Chairperson Edward Kasemeyer, reads:
The Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) met on December 8, 2022 to approve the first round of Fiscal Year 2024 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) planning and funding approvals for projects requested by 23 local school systems and Maryland School for the Blind (MSB). The IAC received planning requests and funding requests totaling $842 million, which were approved by the local boards of education and supported by each local government body.
The report continues to explain that project approval is based on “the submission of each Local Education Agency, discussions between local representatives and the staff of the IAC, available funding, and an evaluation and analysis of each project.” The report explains that the following were “notable factors” in FY 2024 CIP funding:
- Construction cost
- State-local cost share percentages
- Facilities maintenance and the Capital Improvement Program
- Special funding programs and initiatives
What does 75% approval mean…and why isn’t 100%?
The IAC approves projects for State funding on a scheduled basis throughout the year. In December 2022, it approved 75 percent of assumed CIP funding for FY 2024:
The IAC approval represents 75% of the assumed CIP funding for Fiscal Year 2024 and totals $210 million. Of the 249 requests the IAC approved, contingent upon fund allocation in the FY 2024 State budget, 116 projects including 27 major construction projects and 82 systemic renovations. Seven projects received planning approval. Local planning requests that were not associated with funding approvals were deferred for IAC approval until May 2023.
Adjustments will then be made to the approved projects and their funding “prior to the 90% recommendations in February 2023 and the 100% approval sometime after May 1, 2023 in accordance with the final approved State FY 2024 budget.”
Funding related to enrollment growth and relocatable classrooms
Of particular interest to readers is the projected Capital Grant Program for Local School Systems with Significant Enrollment Growth or Relocatable Classrooms (EGRC) for FY 24:
For FY 2024, nine LEAs are expected to be eligible for EGRC funding, contingent upon the final language included in the FY 2024 budget bill. To determine anticipated eligibility, September 30, 2021 full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment figures were used. In addition to the $40 million anticipated to be available in FY 2024, $45.959 million is available for allocation to LEAs from prior year EGRC funding.
New incentives for CIP projects
Notably, the FY 24 projected approvals includes incentives to increase the State cost share at the project level — the application of a 2022 bill that MACo supported creating these incentives. These incentives include:
- A 10% increase for schools where the concentration of poverty is 80% or greater;
- A 5% increase for schools where the concentration of poverty is between 55% and 80%;
- A 5% maintenance incentive for schools that received a good or superior on their most recent maintenance effectiveness assessment, or for schools that achieved an adequate and the data shows that the school systems have averaged at least 120% of their expected useful life; and
- Net zero schools get a 5% increase.
Note that “Projects eligible for these project-based incentives are currently under review and some State cost share percentages may be updated prior to the 100% CIP Approval in May.” As of January 2023, these are the expected incentive boosts by county:
Summary of State Future Obligations based on 75% Approved, including Planning Approvals as 12/31/22
- PG 18: Information on new project incentives
- PG 21: Information on approved specific projects at 75%
- PG 33: Per-county planning approval at 75%