From the office of Sen. Barry Glassman:
Northern Harford County State Senator Barry Glassman (35) of Harford County is focusing on school construction regulation and funding as an area of reform. Glassman stated that “if the State is going to begin pulling back funding of pensions and direct education aide, then we should also look differently at the way we approve and fund local school construction.”
Glassman’s School Construction Funding Reform Act of 2011 would broadly de-regulate the role of the State’s Inter-Agency Committee on School Construction (IAC) which holds judgement on most aspects of local building plans. His proposal would basically take the total approved appropriation for school construction each fiscal year and send block grants to each jurisdiction based on a per pupil formula. In exchange, Maryland jurisdictions would be free from the multitude of IAC formulas, procedures and approvals. Counties would be free to move forward unencumbered to lease, purchase, design, build and use creative financing. “The annual school construction “beg-a-thon” would be a thing of the past,” commented the Harford Senator.
Based on last year’s level of funding, some jurisdictions do better than others. Glassman feels the increased flexibility of a block grant approach far outweighs any reductions and streamlining the design, building and financing would save counties millions on each project. He also hopes that the IAC may be downsized with some potential savings to the State budget.
A second initiative addresses the current practice which finds many counties forward funding new schools. When the State begins repayment of its share, the checks are sent to the local Board of Education, not to the jurisdiction. Glassman’s bill would direct repayment to the County, particularly if it is used to pay debt service for the original forward funding.
Senator Glassman is beginning his second term in the Maryland Senate and served previously as a Harford County Councilman and Maryland State Delegate. If you would like additional information on this proposal, please feel free to contact Senator Glassman at 410-440-9267.