School Safety Forum in St. Mary’s County

Senator Steve Waugh announces an opportunity to discuss the details of the Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018, passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor.  

school safety

Senator Waugh, one of the sponsors of the Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018, will host a School Safety Forum in St. Mary’s County about the bill and its elements.

As described in the Senator’s event invitation:

The bill has 3 major purposes:

  1. Mental and Behavioral Health in Schools
  2. Organizational changes to MD Center for School Safety
  3. Security Measures in Schools

This forum will take place Friday April 27th, from 5-7 pm at the Bay District VFD located at 46900 S. Shangri-La Drive in Lexington Park.  The event is open to the public.

For more information, you may contact the Senator’s office at (410) 841-3673.

 

Round-up of the 2018 Session for Counties

MACo’s legislative efforts earned an 80% success rate – and as usual, the counties’ voice makes a difference in Annapolis. Bills we support are more likely to pass, and bills we oppose are more likely to fail.

2018 Legislative Results Infographic

MACo’s legislative initiatives, priorities, and positions are directed by its Legislative Committee. This body comprises elected representatives from all of MACo’s members – the 24 county jurisdictions (including Baltimore City).

The “one county, one vote” system of deciding the Association’s legislative strategies, ensures that all counties have an equal voice. All 24 jurisdictions participated regularly in the weekly meetings throughout the session – where they also engaged with policy leaders and advocates who joined the meeting to address county leadership.

Our policy staff have compiled updates and results on all of the bills the Legislative Committee decided to take action on this year.

For the 2018 End of Session Wrap-up for each subject MACo covers, click below:

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Assessments and Taxation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Business Affairs

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Disparity Grants

2018 End of Session Wrap-up: Economic Development Tax Credits

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Education

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Elections

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Employee Benefits & Relations

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Environmental Legislation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Finance and Procurement

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Government Liability & Courts

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Health & Human Services

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Housing & Community Development

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Intergovernmental Relations *MACo Initiative Area*

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Parks & Recreation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Pensions

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Planning & Zoning

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Property Taxes

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Public Information & Ethics * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Public Safety and Corrections

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Road Funding * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: School Construction * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: State Budget & Fiscal Affairs

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Tax Sale Bills

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Transportation and Public Works

2018 End of Session Wrap-up: Wynne Tax Bills

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: County Tax Revenues

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Other Tax Bills

2018 End of Session Wrap-up: School Construction

An overview of MACo’s advocacy on school construction legislation in the 2018 General Assembly. 

MACo’s advocacy on the 21st Century Act and other school construction legislation focused on areas of county importance, including flexibility for local school construction programs and efficient and effective use of state and local dollars for schools.

Follow links below for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database

21st Century School Facilities Act

Push Icons-IMPROVED

MACo successfully supported the 21st School Facilities Act with amendments. The 21st Century School Facilities Act incorporates more than thirty-six recommendations of a two-year commission on school construction appointed by the Presiding Officers of the General Assembly.

Thanks to years of advocacy by MACo’s Legislative Committee and Education Subcommittees and the active participation of county representatives on the 21st Century School Facilities Act, the 21st Century School Facilities Act included many long-standing MACo legislative positions as introduced. In addition, MACo’ successfully added several amendments addressing county concerns and advancing county priorities. Other amendments to the bill change the authorities of the Board of Public Works over school funding decisions, an area outside of MACo’s advocacy.

House Bill 1783 / Senate Bill 1243 was passed by the General Assembly and vetoed by the Governor. The General Assembly overrode the Governor’s veto before the end of the legislative session and the bill is now law.

Bill Information | MACo Coverage: School Construction Bill Rebounds | MACo Coverage: Amended, Amending, Amended: Schools Act Moves Along

Other K-12 School Construction Bills

 

Push Icons-MORE WORKMACo supported with amendments a bill to make several changes to current laws for school construction and creates an incentive program for alternative financing projects. During the course of the legislative session, House Bill 968 / Senate Bill 92 was amended significantly to advance only an incentive pilot program to encourage local school systems in Harford, Prince George’s, and Washington counties. Other elements of the legislation, and MACo’s recommended amendments, were incorporated into the 21st Century School Facilities Act. The legislation passed in the final days of the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature. Bill Information

Push Icons-IMPROVEDMACo supported with amendments a bill to require the Interagency Committee on School Construction to develop educational facilities sufficiency standards and a facility condition index and use the index to rank all of Maryland’s public schools. MACo stated that local control of priorities for school construction funding must be maintained, and not lost to a statewide calculation of facility conditions and repair costs. Ultimately, the elements of House Bill 1495 / Senate Bill 1183 were incorporated into the 21st Century School Facilities Act, with additional provisions preserving local control. Bill Information

 

Push Icons-IMPROVEDMACo supported with amendments a bill to legislation would expand county and school board authorities with regard to alternative financing for school construction and clarify laws of school funding regarding school leases. MACo supported the bill, with the caveat that lease payments for school facilities be considered outside of operating funding mandates for education. Ultimately, elements of Senate Bill 1145 were incorporated into the 21st Century School Facilities Act, with accommodation of the MACo amendment. Bill Information

Push Icons-NOT IDEALMACo supported a bill to change the trigger for application of prevailing wage laws to school construction. Under current law, if 25% of funding for a school comes from the State, the law applies. For other public works projects, and previously for school construction, the threshold is 50%, which is where this bill would have returned the school construction trigger. While this legislation did not advance, the 21st Century School Facilities Act includes a study requirement on the effect of the prevailing wage. MACo will continue advocacy to return the prevailing wage threshold for school construction to its prior point. Bill Information

Push Icons-WONMACo supported a bill to establish a Healthy School Facility Fund to provide grants to public schools to improve the health of school facilities. This legislation was amended into a $30 million annual grant fund that will only exist for two years, fiscal 2020 and 2021, and passed by the General Assembly. Bill Information | MACo Coverage:  $30 Million for Healthy Schools Passes Maryland Senate

Push Icons-NOT IDEALMACo supported a bill to create a grant program for the capital equipment needed in career and technology education. House Bill 1098 / Senate Bill 515 did not passed by the General Assembly. Bill Information

 

 

Community College Facilities

Push Icons-WONMACo supported a bill to establish a new program to provide grants for improvements, repairs, and deferred maintenance projects at
community colleges, including Baltimore City Community College. Under House Bill 403 / Senate Bill 595, community colleges are eligible for up to $3 million in facility renewal grants in FY 2019 and 2020 and up to $4 million beginning in FY 2021. The bill does not require them to provide any matching funds for the grants. This legislation was passed by the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature. Bill Information | MACo Coverage: Continued Care of Community College Facilities Creates Cost Savings

For more information on school construction legislation tracked by MACo during the 2018 legislative session, click here.

Conduit Street Podcast: Sine Die Is Quickly Approaching… What’s Locked Up? What’s Still Lingering?

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Kevin Kinnally and Michael Sanderson discuss a number of issues that have been resolved by the General Assembly as well as a number of issues that still require attention. MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast.

Listen here:

Show Notes:

What’s Locked Up?

  • Amazon Incentive Package
  • Tax Cut Package
  • School Construction Sage
  • Same-Day Voter Registration

What’s Left?

  • School Safety Legislation
  • Crime Bill Blowup
  • Education Lockbox… Limbo?
  • Cannabis (and Quirky Zoning Sideshow)

You can listen to previous episodes of the Conduit Street Podcast on our website.

School Construction Bill Rebounds

The General Assembly successfully overrides the Governor’s veto of the 21st Century School Facilities Act, meaning the legislation is now law.

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The 21st Century School Facilities Act bounced back from the Governor’s veto with an override vote in the General Assembly.

It was another big week for the 21st Century School Facilities Act. The Governor vetoed the legislation on Wednesday and on Thursday, the House and Senate both brought the legislation back to the floor and overrode his veto. The Senate’s override vote was 29-15, just barely the 2/3 required to supersede the Governor’s action.

The late-introduced bill made its way quickly through both House and Senate last week, likely in order to provide the Assembly with the opportunity to override his veto before adjourning for the year.

The legislation incorporates more than thirty-six recommendations of a two-year commission on school construction appointed by the Presiding Officers of the General Assembly. Many of the bill’s elements support local flexibility and authority in building schools, and efficiency in school construction.

However, an amendment added to the legislation by the General Assembly would strip the Board of Public Works of much of its authority over the allocation of state funding for school construction. The Board of Public Works is made up of the Treasurer, the Governor, and the Comptroller.

The new body that will make school construction funding allocations will be the Interagency Commission on School Construction, made up of:

  • The State Superintendent of Schools
  • The Secretary of Planning, or the Secretary’s designee
  • The Secretary of General Services, or the Secretary’s designee
  • 2 members of the public appointed by the Governor
  • 2 members of the public appointed by the President of the Senate
  • 2 members of the public appointed by the Speaker of the House

MACo’s advocacy on the 21st Century Act has focused on areas of county importance, including flexibility for local school construction programs and efficient and effective use of state and local dollars for schools.

County representatives on the 21st Century School Facilities Commission, Prince George’s County Council Member Mel Franklin and Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner articulated several county concerns that were included in the original legislation – including a revolving loan fund to help smaller counties with timely funding needs, and alternatives to state environmental and emergency management building requirements.

Members of MACo’s Legislative Committee testified in both houses of the General Assembly on the legislation, raising several suggestions that were also adopted through amendments to the bill. In the Senate, Prince George’s County Council Member Todd Turner, Anne Arundel County Council Member Chris Trumbauer, and Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine testified on the bill. In the House, Caroline County Commissioner Wilbur Levengood, Talbot County Council Member Laura Price, and Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner testified.

The House and Senate adopted amendments to address concerns MACo raised in testimony. Those amendments include clarifying county-required approval for any alternative financing project, establishing a waiver process to exclude lease payments on school facilities from maintenance of effort, and studying whether the types of costs eligible for State school funding should be expanded in certain cases.

For more information about this legislation, see the reprint of the legislation and MACo’s previous post, Amended, Amending, Amended: Schools Act Moves Along.

Governor Vetoes School Construction Bill

As reported by David Collins of WBAL, the Governor has vetoed the 21st Century School Facilities Act.
Screenshot 2018-04-04 10.13.59

The legislation incorporates more than thirty-six recommendations of a two-year commission on school construction appointed by the Presiding Officers of the General Assembly.

Many of the bill’s elements support local flexibility and authority in building schools, and efficiency in school construction. However, an amendment added to the legislation by the General Assembly would strip the Board of Public Works of much of its authority over the allocation of state funding for school construction. The Board of Public Works is made up of the Treasurer, the Governor, and the Comptroller.

For more information about this legislation, see Amended, Amending, Amended: Schools Act Moves Along.

 

 

Continued Care of Community College Facilities Creates Cost Savings

MACo submitted written testimony in support of Senate Bill 595, “Community Colleges – Facilities Renewal Grant Program – Established”, to the House Appropriations Committee on March 29, 2018.

The bill would provide grant funding for maintenance efforts at community colleges, including Baltimore City Community College. The program will fund small renovation projects focused on improving the learning environments at different community colleges throughout the State. These small preventative maintenance efforts

The governor must appropriate 5% of the community college construction grant program to this facility renewal program, which can help with cost savings through long-term preventative maintenance.

From MACo Testimony:

The grant program envisioned in this legislation will provide helpful assistance in tackling maintenance projects that will improve the learning environments of community college students and may extend the life of community college facilities, a joint investment of counties and the State of Maryland.

The facility renewal program will fund for small renovations those projects with total estimated costs of less than $1 million. Under this legislation, each year beginning in fiscal 2019, the Governor must appropriate 5% of the annual appropriation for the Community College Construction Grant Program to the new facility renewal program.

The funds would be distributed evenly to community college applicants, with no college generally receiving more than $500,000 grant funding in one fiscal year, and with community colleges alternating years in which they receive grants. In this way, the program assures that all community colleges statewide are provided with some assistance for needed renovations and improvements.”

For more on this and other legislation, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.

Amended, Amending, Amended: Schools Act Moves Along

Major legislation in the General Assembly advances in the House of Delegates, with amendments made by the Appropriations Committee and on the House floor. The legislation and its amendments include many changes to various aspects of the school construction program, and some substantial shifts in authority. 

changes
A 31-page bill on school construction becomes 50 pages with amendments added by the Maryland House of Delegates. More changes are likely to come as it advances.

The 21st Century School Facilities Act is on second reader in the House of Delegates, leaving one more step before it crosses over into the Senate. The Senate has yet to weigh in on the changes made, but three members of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee participated in a work group on the bill a week ago.

Areas of Interest to MACo 

These elements are all maintained in the bill amended and passed by the House of Delegates.

  • Increasing the annual State school construction funding goal to $400 million
  • Streamlining State school construction reviews, while maintaining the State and a resource for smaller jurisdictions
  • Changing alternative financing laws to reduce hurdles to public private partnerships in school construction
  • Examining of the effect of prevailing wage laws on school construction
  • Allowing alternatives to LEED certification for school building practices
  • Deferring to local governments on schools built as emergency shelters

Major Changes to the Legislation 

These elements were added by the House Appropriations Committee and the House of Delegates. The Senate may adopt these changes, or reject them, and may also make their own changes before the end of the legislative session.

  • Including local consultation in the creation of educational sufficiency standards.
  • Making the Interagency Committee into an independent Commission with school construction authorities similar to those currently held by the Board of Public Works.
  • Designating the membership of the Interagency Commission to include representatives of the Governor and the General Assembly.
  • Adding an annual school safety grant program of $10 million.

Read a reprint of HB 1783 with the House Appropriations Committee’s amendments.

Read the amendment added on the floor of the House yesterday relating to the Interagency Commission membership.

Stay tuned for updates on the Senate’s review of the 21st Century School Facilities Act’s amendments. It’s looking like this debate could continue until the final hours of the General Assembly’s 2018 Session.

School Safety & School Temperatures Targeted in FY 19 Capital Budget

The House’s version of the capital budget includes just over $375 million for school construction, with $10 million for school safety improvements and $10 million for HVAC improvements in Baltimore City, according the Maryland Association of Boards of Education.

As usual, the Maryland Association of Boards of Education’s publication, The Education Advocate, includes a wealth of information on legislation related to education funding and school construction.

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Some funding in the capital budget is dedicated to certain purposes, while public school construction program funds are available to be allocated for school construction priorities from each district.

Regarding Maryland’s FY 2019 State Capital Budget, MABE provides this update:

The State Capital Budget Bill, Senate Bill 186, has passed the House and is pending on the floor in the Senate. Public school facility funding for FY 2019 totals just over $375 million.

The State’s investment in public school facility funding in the FY 2019 capital budget includes:

  • $309 million for the Public School Construction Program.
  • $40 million for Supplemental Capital Grant Program for Local School Systems with enrollment growth that over the last 5 years exceeds 150% of the statewide average or with 300 or more relocatable classrooms.
  • $10 million for Public School Safety Improvements through the design, construction, and capital equipping of safety improvements at public school buildings.
  • $10 million for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Improvements in Baltimore City public school buildings.
  • $6.1 million for the Aging Schools Program.

For more information, see the FY 2019 State Capital Budget bill, Senate Bill 186.

Conduit Street Podcast: Post-Crossover Roundup, School Construction, School Safety, and More!

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Kevin Kinnally and Michael Sanderson provide listeners with a roundup of MACo’s 2018 Legislative Initiatives, as well as a host of other bills MACo has weighed in on this year, discuss the latest on school construction, and examine the debate on school safety. MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast.

Listen here:

You can listen to previous episodes of the Conduit Street Podcast on our website.