Counties Raise Concerns for Unfunded School Route Mandate

On January 22, 2020, Policy Associate Drew Jabin testified before the Senate to raise practical and cost-driven concerns and oppose SB 65 - Counties - Construction of Sidewalks and Crosswalks - Safe Alternative Routes to Public Schools.  Although MACo supports the goal of this bill, as written it would create a significant unfunded mandate of an unknown amount for county governments to carry out a new state policy.  From the MACo Testimony: As a rule, MACo…

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MACo to Ways and Means Committee: Prioritize Schools, Behavioral Health, Local Decision-Making

MACo’s 2020 President, Baltimore City Council Member Sharon Green Middleton, First Vice President, Caroline County Commissioner Wilbur Levengood, Chair of MACo's Education Subcommittee, Montgomery County Council Member Craig Rice, and MACo Associate Director Kevin Kinnally today presented MACo’s 2020 Legislative Initiatives to the House Ways and Means Committee. The MACo panel followed the Department of Legislative Services’ analysts, who presented the annual Overview of State Aid to Local Governments. Substance use disorders and mental illness…

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Governor’s 2021 Budget Proposal – What It Means for Counties

Governor Larry Hogan yesterday unveiled his FY 2021 budget proposal. Overall, the $47.9 billion budget proposal -- a 1.6 percent increase from the current fiscal year --  leaves a general fund balance of $414.4 million at the end of FY 2020 and $108.5 million at the end of FY 2021. The Rainy Day Fund ends FY 2021 with a balance of $1.2 billion (6.28% of general fund revenues). Combined cash balances at the close of…

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2020 Built to Learn Act – “Supercharged” School Construction Bill
Crofton Area High School (photo courtesy of Anne Arundel County Public Schools
2020 Built to Learn Act – “Supercharged” School Construction Bill

The 2020 Built to Learn Act would drive an additional $2.2 billion in school construction funding, by leveraging casino "lockbox" revenues for bonds. Legislation creating a large new funding program for school construction has been introduced for the second year in the General Assembly. The 2020 bill has many similarities to last year and additionally, pulls recommendations from the 2019 Workgroup on the Assessment and Funding of School Facilities. The Built to Learn Act 2020…

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Preliminary Recommendations for School Construction Funding Released

The Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) released the Preliminary Report of the Workgroup on the Assessment and Funding of School Facilities. In a letter to Governor Hogan, Speaker Jones, and President Miller, Dr. Karen Salmon requested the extension of the Workgroup for one further year in order to fully respond to the statutory charge. Dr. Salmon, the Chairperson of the IAC and Chair of the Workgroup, requested the extension as there has been a…

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County Officials Explore School Construction Funding at #MACoCon
Crofton Area High School (photo courtesy of Anne Arundel County Public Schools
County Officials Explore School Construction Funding at #MACoCon

At the 2019 MACo Winter Conference session, “Change Order: Is a Shift in School Construction Funding on the Way?,” attendees learned about the Workgroup on the Assessment and Funding of School Facilities, the recommendations that came out of it, and what the 2020 Maryland Legislative Session may hold for the Build to Learn Act. Perry Willis, Executive Director of Support Services for Cecil County Public Schools started off the discussion by going through the background of…

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Preview the 2020 Session “Big Picture”

A compilation of Issue Papers previews major fiscal and policy issues facing the General Assembly in the year ahead. This resource is a handy guide to the top issues that your legislators will be tackling in 2020 – a great preparation document for county officials in advance of meetings with their local Delegations. Developed by the Department of Legislative Services (DLS), the 2020 Issue Papers are an annual staple for the Annapolis policy-inclined population. They are also…

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Institute Warns of Debt From School Construction “Supercharging”

As legislative leaders tout plans to commit long term bonds to fast track billions in school construction projects, some worry about affordability. After failure in the 2019 session due to fiscal concerns in the Senate, legislative leadership announced the 2020 return of the Build to Learn Act, a $2.2 billion school construction and renovation bill. The Maryland Stadium Authority would issue bonds to cover the school construction spending and would be paid back over 20…

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