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Fully Fund Frederick County Public Schools

EDUCATION

Education is more than half of the county’s budget. As such, the relationship of the county executive with the school board should be fluid yet firm. The budget for schools cannot decrease according to state law.  The 2012 Maintenance of effort laws guarantee a minimum of level funding for local schools from county government.

I will fully fund Frederick County Public Schools.

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION

One of the most frustrating parts of being a conservative in Annapolis and Frederick County is the lack of common sense about school construction. There are so many factors involved with the increases in costs to school construction and plenty to share the blame. From state law, down to the current county executive and the Democratic members of the local delegation, Krimm, Young, and Young, a change in thinking is in order.

A brief history lesson:

DEVELOPMENT

You can’t discuss school construction without addressing the elephant in the room—high density new home development put on steroids by the former BOCC, which has increased school overcrowding in new areas like Urbana. The result is that the newer areas of Frederick County receive most of the school construction dollars.

Meanwhile, older schools like Brunswick High (52-years-old), Thomas Johnson High (51), Catoctin High (48), Middletown High (43), must fight hard to get funding to repair to their aging buildings. Add to that, the increases in school construction costs, mostly due to terrible state laws and regulations written by a liberal monopoly in Annapolis and bought into by Gardner, Krimm, Young and Young and you have a perfect storm for taxpayer sticker shock for school construction.

On top of that, impractical storm water management mandates (e.g. Rain Tax), changes to prevailing wage laws, and other liberal mandates created a perfect storm that was part of the new Frederick High/tax payer sticker shock

In the 2014 Legislative session Frederick Senator Ron Young, co-sponsored SB 232 which was the final nail in the coffin of controlling school construction costs.

Without going too far into the legislative weeds, the change in the prevailing wage law was a huge factor in the increase for local school construction costs.

Meanwhile, local leaders like Gardner, Krimm, Young and Young (G, K, Y&Y), were unable to cut through the politics and admit that these cost increases were due to votes that they and the Annapolis monopoly took against their local interests. They were decisions made for political party not for the people.

When the Board of Education, County Council and County Executive came to the delegation complaining about the school construction cost increases the delegation under my leadership acted decisively, recognizing that the changes in the prevailing wage laws added costs.

The delegation drafted an emergency bill exempting the new Frederick High and grandfathering the new school into the old law. What the delegation didn’t know was that local democrats worked behind the scenes to kill our local bill.

FHS cost nearly 18 million more than originally budgeted.

To add insult to injury, the county executive assembled a School Construction Work Group whose findings concurred with everything the Republicans on the delegation tried to accomplish in 2014. We didn’t need a work group for common sense. Three years and countless work group hours after our local bill died, page 6 of the Gardner Work Group 2017 report states:

Seek amendments to the State Finance and Procurement Article to allow school systems the flexibility to bid and construct schools absent the Prevailing Wage requirement, if local funding is more than 50% of the project costs. FCPS’s own experience is that this would reduce construction costs by 11% to 14%.