A School Is Not A Road

A statewide workgroup gets inside funding and facility issues that lie beneath the surface.  At the first meeting of the workgroup on school construction funding and facility assessments, Bob Gorrell, the Director of the Public School Construction Program described the challenges of public understanding of school facilities issues. Relatively few residents will enter a school to see its condition, while almost all residents will experience deteriorating roads and unsafe highways. The Workgroup on the Assessment…

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Your County InfoSec Connect

The Maryland Association of County Information Technology Officers, working with the Emergency Communications Committee of the Maryland Association of County Emergency Managers prepare for a discussion of cyber vulnerabilities and response at MACo's Summer Conference. Who in your county handles cybersecurity? Depending on your county, this might be a point person within the department of information technology, an independent office, or a position in another county department. As cyber threats to county services continue to…

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School Construction Funding Percents Static Through 2020

Maryland's county governments will receive the same percentages of funding from the State on their school construction projects in FY 2020, despite formula calculations that would have decreased the State's share in some cases. Maryland counties and the State share school construction costs - each providing some of the funding for new school buildings and major renovations. The amount that the State provides on any given project is determined in part by percentages set in…

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How Nice Should Your Kid’s School Be? Maryland’s Workgroup Reports Back.

A workgroup established by the General Assembly's 21st Century School Facilities Act releases findings and recommendations on educational specifications. Every local school system seeks the best public facilities for K-12 educational programs. Educational specifications, or "Ed Specs" as they are commonly called, provide guidance on standards for educational facilities statewide. Updates to these standards were the focus of a work group created by the General Assembly in the 21st Century School Facilities Act, passed in…

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Flight of the Data Navigator

The Governor's Office of Performance Improvement will lead a roundtable on open data solutions for county governments at MACo's Summer Conference. Open data - the sharing of government budgets, statistics, and other public information in digestible formats - continues to be a hot topic as new sharing platforms emerge. In Maryland, some counties invest heavily in data and stat programs through dedicated staff and focused initiatives, while others steadily improve their county website offerings with…

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Speaker Jones to Address Maryland County Elected Officials

The first woman to serve as Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates will address county elected officials at the annual gathering of the Women of MACo. The Women of MACo, a chapter organization of the Maryland Association of Counties, hold an annual lunch meeting at the MACo Summer Conference. Previous guests have included Maryland Treasurer Nancy Kopp, Maryland Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes (2018-2019 President of the Women Legislators of Maryland), Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake,…

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The County Program: Local Duties, Local Powers

State preemption of local laws, in particular those laws seeking to advance health, environment, and community preservation aims, is a national issue. This article is the first in a series exploring local government powers, their preemption, and implications for Maryland. What Makes Maryland #Countystrong? As compared with other states in the US, Maryland’s county governments have a relatively large role in the delivery of public services. This is in part because Maryland, unlike other states,…

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State School Construction Contingencies Funding May Change for the Better

The Interagency Commission on School Construction updates regulations around state school construction funding processes in an effort to ease administrative hurdles and expedite project completion. The Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) approved the publication of COMAR revisions including: Clarifications to best value procurement requirements Increases to time allowances for local school systems to ask the IAC to reconsider a decision Clarifications to emergency shelter requirements These proposed policy changes reflect input from county governments…

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Slight Increase to School Construction Costs and New School Size Allowances for FY 2021

At the recent meeting of the Interagency Commission on School Construction, the Commission adopted a 3.4% increase to the statewide per-square-foot school building costs to $329 per square foot and changed their square footage allowances. The dollars per-square-foot figure annually adopted by the State's School Construction Commission represents to amount of funding that the State will contribute to school construction projects in the coming year. The State will still only contribute to a percentage of…

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County Awards Community College Employees Healthcare Assistance Payment

As reported by The Baltimore Sun, full-time employees at Harford Community College will be getting a one-time “health care assistance payment” to help with the rising costs of health care. The Baltimore Sun reports: To help with the rising premium costs, the trustees approved a one-time payment of $750 to each employee, a cost of $266,250. For more information, see Harford Community College to give full-time employees $750 to help with rising health care costs.…

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