BILL: HB 383
TITLE: Interagency Commission on School Construction – Systemic Renovation
Projects – Eligibility
DATE: February 7, 2023
CONTACT: Mary Pat Fannon, Executive Director, PSSAM
The Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland (PSSAM), on behalf of all twenty-four Maryland local school superintendents, supports House Bill 383.
House Bill 383 would require the Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) to consider the approval of systemic projects for funding under the Built to Learn Act, assuming the projects meet the minimum funding threshold of $100,000. This base funding threshold would ensure the bill’s alignment with the language of the Administrative Procedures Guide published by the Interagency Commission on School Construction.
In 2021, the passage of the Built to Learn Act offered local school systems an additional funding option for school construction through a Bond initiative from the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA). However, the Built to Learn Act does not define project types to be funded, only Public School Facility Projects. After guidance was released in September 2021 by the IAC and MSA that provided additional guidance regarding minimum funding thresholds not found in the Act’s codified language, there was wide-spread confusion for local school systems regarding what minimum funding threshold was required in order systemic projects to be considered. House Bill 383 remedies the existing confusion and clearly defines that a systemic project, regardless of total project cost, would be considered for funding under the Built to Learn Act.
PSSAM supports the equitable goal of House Bill 383, which aims to ensure that both the traditional Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and the new Built to Learn Act program
administered by the Maryland Stadium Authority are available to local school systems as robust funding sources for new school construction, major renovations, and the other systemic projects. Systemic projects can include repair or replacement of structures such as roofs, walls, floors, and ceilings. Additionally, projects can aim to alter or replace plumbing and mechanical systems such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, water supply, electrical, sprinklers, fire detection systems, and elevators. Local superintendents appreciate the State’s investments in the annual capital budget and targeted investments to support school safety projects, HVAC and lead remediation projects, energy efficiency projects, and designated funding for school systems with significant enrollment growth.
Recent State initiatives, such as the commitment to fund twenty-first century school facilities in the Baltimore City Public School System and net-zero schools, demonstrate the State’s commitment to investing in high quality school facilities and learning environments for all students. While the Built to Learn Act targets the bulk of its revenue stream to the largest seven school systems in the State, a substantial amount is also available to the other seventeen school systems.
PSSAM champions this bill’s equitable goal in providing Built to Learn funding for both large and small systemic projects, and we are confident that all twenty-four school systems would benefit from the passage of House Bill 383. In this context, PSSAM firmly believes that all sources of school facilities funding should be increased and administered in support of locally prioritized construction, renovation, and systemic projects in each of Maryland’s 24 local school systems.
For these reasons, PSSAM supports House Bill 383 and kindly requests a favorable committee report.