Frederick County Public Schools Superintendent Terry Alban is “encouraged” by news over the weekend that state leaders have a plan for providing more money for school construction.
Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones announced Saturday that the first bill introduced in the next legislative session would provide $2 billion in funding for school construction across the state in the next decade.
Alban said the funding will benefit FCPS as there are multiple capacity and renovation needs in the county.
Jones made the announcement at a gathering of the Legislative Black Caucus, at which she was the keynote speaker. House Bill 1, she said, will be introduced when the next legislative session begins on Jan. 8.
Jones also encouraged the caucus to support passing and implementing recommendations of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, nicknamed the Kirwan Commission, of which she is a member.
The commission has been studying how to improve schools across the state and has already made suggestions such as implementing free, full-day prekindergarten for low-income students and toughening teacher certification standards.
“There are many positive policy recommendations from the Kirwan Commission,” Alban said. “Getting the funding to implement those recommendations will be absolutely essential.”
The General Assembly passed a similar bill earlier this year, the Build to Learn Act, which would have provided $2.2 billion for school construction, but it failed in the Senate.
The bill, which was proposed by Gov. Larry Hogan, would have used revenue from casinos as funding.
It is unclear where funding for the new House Bill 1 would come from.
It is also unclear how much of the $2 billion FCPS would receive.
Hogan communications director Michael Ricci told the Baltimore Sun he hopes the announcement signals “that the legislature will actually act on the governor’s plan this time, so we can clear the backlog of aging schools in need of repair.”
Jones’ announcement comes after Hogan announced earlier this month that he would withhold funding for school construction that had been amended into the budget by the General Assembly.