Mayor’s “State of the City” Targets Crime, Housing Issues with Optimism

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott's first in-person "State of the City" address looked at successes and challenges, and set sights on tough issues confronting city leaders. The roughly 45-minute long address highlighted the administration’s accomplishments and plans to continue the Mayor’s commitment to shape a safer, more resilient, equitable, and accountable Baltimore that better meets the needs of its residents. The Baltimore Sun's coverage noted: “We’ve been through a lot together in the past two years,…

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Federal “Building Better School Infrastructure Action Plan” and Grants to Help Modernize Schools

On April 4, the Biden-Harris Administration announced its Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure to "upgrade our public schools with modern, clean, energy efficient facilities and transportation—delivering health and learning benefits to children and school communities, saving school districts money, and creating good union jobs." The Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure and accompanying federal grants "activates the entire federal government in leveraging investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and American Rescue Plan to…

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Baltimore County Invests Additional $70M in School Construction for Fiscal Year ’23

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced an additional nearly $70 million in school construction funding for fiscal year '23 and commitments to building several new school facilities in the county. At a March 28 press conference, County Executive Olszewski announced that Baltimore County has allocated $70 million for school capital improvements for fiscal year '23 as part of a larger 15-year plan, called the Multiyear Improvement Plan for All Schools (MYIPAS), a $2.5 billion plan to improve every school…

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Senate-Amended Climate Bill: What it Means for School Construction

On March 10, the Senate amended the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, landmark legislation to tackle climate change in Maryland. The bill was amended on the Senate floor to specify certain requirements for school construction. While SB 528 -- Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 still faces a final vote for passage in the Senate, the chamber on Thursday approved several amendments targeting public school buildings. The bill, as drafted, had exempted Maryland's public schools…

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Proposed Procurement Overhaul A Poor Fit for County Contracts

On March 8, 2022, Executive Director Michael Sanderson testified before the House Health and Government Operations Committee in opposition to HB 1353 - Omnibus Procurement Reform Act ("OPRA") of 2022. This bill would place county contracts involving any state funds at all beneath a variety of state procurement rules, and subject them to a peculiar appeals process where the county may only defend itself that its actions were "fiscally necessary" by a very high standard of…

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State Launches Pilot Initiative to Increase Net Zero Energy Capacity in Schools

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) announced the launch of the Decarbonizing Public Schools Pilot Program to expand the capacity of local education agencies (LEA) for managing energy data, reducing operating costs, and for inserting energy performance criteria into capital improvement planning. The Decarbonizing Public Schools Pilot Program was developed by MEA and the Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) to "foster LEAs’ long-term capacities for energy management and net zero energy (NZE) school design and…

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Interagency Commission on School Construction: March 10 Meeting Agenda

The Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) — a nine member commission that serves resource for best practices and as a statewide expert in facilities operations and management that supports Local Education Agencies — reviews and supports the implementation of capital projects relating to the repair and building of school facilities. It typically convenes once a month via videoconference. The meeting is live-streamed for the public on the IAC's YouTube channel. The Board’s next meeting…

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MACo Supports Recommendations for Updates to School Construction Policies

On March 1, 2022, Associate Policy Director Brianna January testified before the House Appropriations Committee in support of HB 1290 - Education - Public School Construction - Funding and Administration with amendments. This bill requires the Interagency Commission on School Construction to take certain actions relating to public school construction, including increasing the State share of certain public school construction project costs under certain circumstances and inspecting certain systems and equipment during inspections of school buildings; prohibiting…

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MACo Urges State Partnership to Address School Mold

On February 24, 2022, Associate Policy Director Brianna January testified before the Senate Health, Education, and Environmental Affairs Committee in support of SB 575 - Public Schools – Mold Assessment and Remediation with amendments. This bill requires the State Department of Education, in consultation with the Maryland Department of Health and the Department of General Services, to adopt regulations on or before June 1, 2023, establishing uniform standards for mold assessment and remediation in public schools, including…

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MACo: Counties Should Maintain Flexibility in Facility Management

On February 10, 2022, Associate Policy Director Brianna January testified before the Senate Finance Committee in opposition to SB 259 - Procurement - Prevailing Wage - Applicability. This bill would apply the Prevailing Wage Law to a certain contract for the construction of a public work by expanding the definition of "construction" to include services provided under a mechanical systems service contract. From the MACo Testimony: This bill would usurp local authority over typical facilities maintenance…

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