History of the Block Grant Bill

General Assembly 2012 Summary

 

Frank Patinella of the ACLU of Maryland talks to students and parents after the Block Grant Bill hearing in March 2012.

Legislation Introduced during the 2012 General Assembly

House Bill 304 and Senate Bill 533 were introduced during the regular 2012 General Assembly.  Each chamber of the legislature held hearings on the bills to discuss the proposals and hear from the school system, city, and advocates about the need for a different approach to school construction for the children of Baltimore City. In response to the heairngs and some important questions about the plan, the Joint Chairs of the budget committees ordered that the State study the feasibility and impact of the legislation over the summer of 2012 (click here to read the report request).  The resulting report issued by the Interagency Committee on School Construction (IAC) in January 2013 determined that the proposal was legal and feasible (click here to read a brief summary of the report).

The Block Grant Bill is based on alternative financing models used successfully by other cities around the country to solve their significant school infrastructure problems.  Buffalo, NY, Greenville, SC, and Indianapolis, IN, have successfully renovated all of their schools. They were able to complete their renovations within 10 years by borrowing all of the needed funds up front and renovating schools on a compressed timeline.  By doing so, they saved up to $1 Billion on construction costs.