Regional Schools Bill Moves with MACo Amendment

A bill that would allow school boards to create regional schools through local agreements has passed the Maryland Senate with a friendly amendment to clarify that county governments must also approve the agreements. Maryland county governments are partners in school construction with the State, together funding the many construction and renovation projects that support K-12 public education.   County governments are consistently open to innovative approaches to addressing student education needs and supported Senator Hester's…

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“Supercharged” School Construction – Pieces Falling into Place

A new way to spend $2.2 billion more school construction funding is on its way to passage in the House of Delegates, with the second reader completed. The amended bill divvies up the funding by percentages to certain counties in the State. Legislation creating a large new funding program for school construction is advancing in the General Assembly. The bill that is headed toward passage in the General Assembly is a heavily amended version of legislation…

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Capital Budget: From Parks and Playgrounds to Oysters and Old Buildings

The capital budget bill spreads limited funding across various needs through capital programs open to county government applicants.  Reading through the smattering of programs included in the State Capital Budget reminds one of the breadth of the work of the State and counties throughout Maryland. From parks and playgrounds to public safety priorities, to water quality and land preservation, county governments are working to improve Maryland, and appreciate State grant funding available to support local endeavors.…

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MACo to State: Don’t Shortchange Community Colleges

Montgomery County Council Member Craig Rice and Queen Anne's County Commissioner Jack Wilson, MACo's Education Subcommittee Chair and Vice Chair, ask the State to correct a calculation error that accounts for a $9 million decrease in fiscal year 2020 State funding for community colleges. As has been the case for many years, the State's fiscal year 2020 budget did not fully fund the Cade Community College formula. The Cade formula, named after former Senator John…

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Keep “Cadillac Tax” in the Garage, National Advocates Urge Congress

A tax on healthcare plans that would penalize many county employers is set to go into effect in 2022. The National Association of Counties has joined 500 other organizations in a letter to Congress, requesting repeal of a provision that would charge a fee to employers providing healthcare benefits to their employees that are over a certain low threshold of coverage. The "Cadillac Tax," as it is called, was designed to help subsidize the Affordable…

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House Swaps School Construction Slice, Tops with Cherry

The House Appropriations Committee approves several budget shifts, adding $62 million to the school construction budget overall for a total of $500 million.  The Governor's proposed budget included $438 million for school construction, including $45 million dedicated to a new school construction program called the Building Opportunity Fund. Now the budget is in the hands of the General Assembly, making its way from the House to the Senate. At the decision meeting of the House…

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‘Do you copy?’ Baltimore County Launches FirstNet Radio Site
Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger
‘Do you copy?’ Baltimore County Launches FirstNet Radio Site

The Hazelwood Avenue location is part of a federal-state partnership that will bring increased coverage and capacity to first responders across the state. As reported by FirstNet, the First Responder Network Authority, public safety communications in Baltimore County will have a critical upgrade in the launch of a "new, purpose-built cell site." Congressman Ruppersberger, former Baltimore County Executive and former MACo President, attended the launch. He stated, “The launch of this new cell site, with…

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Cameras, Doors, Vestibules Top List of School Safety Grant Uses

In a memo from the Public School Construction Program, they report that they have received 172 project requests for a total of $7 million of the $10 million first round of this program. In this program, funding is distributed first based on student enrollment in each county and the amount of square feet of school facilities in each county. Then a county a request funding for security projects in all of its schools facilities, including projects…

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Education Funding Per Student Charts for 2019

The Department of Legislative Service's where-the-money-goes analysis of revenues per public school student is a calculation of perennial interest to Conduit Street readers. As compared with the 2018 ranking of total per pupil funding, several counties changed ranking position. Allegany and Dorchester counties switched spots, as did Charles and Garrett counties. Calvert, Wicomico, and Caroline swapped places, as did Anne Arundel and St. Mary's. Talbot jumped from last place to 21st, and Frederick and Harford…

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Special Case Bill Raises Universal Concerns with State School Construction Funding

A bill to expand the types of school construction costs eligible for state funding in certain scenarios reveals how eligible cost definitions limit state funding for K-12 school facilities generally. Legislation in the General Assembly would makes land acquisition, architectural, engineering, consulting, and other school construction planning costs eligible costs for state funding in certain cases. Generally, these costs are not eligible for any state funding -- meaning that they are borne entirely by county…

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