The 2023 Spring Newsletter from the Interagency Commission on School Construction includes information on Net Zero Energy add-on funding and budget and legislative updates.
The Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) has published its Spring 2023 Newsletter. In this edition of the quarterly publication, readers will find details on the agency’s Net Zero Energy add-on incentive funding and legislative updates from the 2023 legislative session.
The 2023 Spring Newsletter also includes updates on a series of user-friendly website improvements including:
- The FY 2023 CIP Amendment Tracker;
- An interactive map showing facility level Facility Condition Index (FCI) scores displaying the most recent Statewide Facilities Assessment data set published on March 7, 2023;
- A calendar of dates to remember, which can be accessed from the homepage or the LEA Forms & Resources page; and
- Updated search function which now includes the contents of PDFs in search results.
Add-on Incentive Funding for Net Zero Energy Success
The passage of HB 1290 in 2022 established several school construction and capital improvement project (CIP) incentives boosting the State share of project funding, including for Net Zero Energy (NZE). Local Education Agencies (LEAs) building NZE school facilities will be eligible for a 5% increase to the State cost share in all IAC funding programs using the State-local cost share formula. The 2023 Spring Newsletter explains:
This State cost share add-on percentage is designed to incentivize LEAs to design and build to NZE with little to no increase in local project budgets despite the increased total project budget that NZE could require.
The standard State cost share percentage is set for each LEA based on a number of financial factors and updated every July for the following fiscal year. Cost shares over time can be found on the IAC’s website. After any eligible add-on funding is applied, the total State cost share of a project cannot exceed 100%.
HB 1290 was the product of the 2021 interim Workgroup on the Assessment and Funding of School Facilities, on which counties were pleased to participate. The recommendations of that workgroup, which became the foundation for the policy suggestions of HB 1290, reasonably balance the needs of local governments to build and maintain safe, long-lasting school facilities and manage fiscal responsibility.
To be eligible for the IAC NZE incentive, NZE is defined as ”
a school facility that has onsite renewable energy that produces as much energy as is used by the school over the course of a year.” There are three main components to success:
The Spring Newsletter also links to federal resources for building NZE school facilities (which are accessible on page 2 of the newsletter).
The Spring Newsletter also reminds readers of other add-on funding incentives for school construction and CIPs.
2023 Legislative Update on School Construction
The Spring 2023 IAC Newsletter highlights several bills that passed the 2023 legislative session impacting school construction and CIPs (starting on page 4 of the newsletter). Most notable was a bill to establish the IAC as an independent state agency — it currently is housed under the State Department of Education.
- Making the IAC an independent agency: HB458, Public School Construction – Programs, Approvals, and Administration – Alterations: the IAC will be established as an independent unit of State government as of July 1, 2023 (currently the IAC operates as a unit of the Maryland State Department of Education). This bill also makes alterations to school construction approvals by the State Superintendent and Board of Public Works and to provisions related to a public-private partnership agreement in Prince George’s County.