ANNAPOLIS — Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine will serve on the state Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, a 25-member group working to reform the educational funding system.
"For some reason the cost of school construction in the state of Maryland is much higher than any other place in this country," said Valentine.
The commission is the result of Senate Bill 905, legislation sponsored by Sen. Nancy King, Education Subcommittee chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, and signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan.
The commission will prepare a preliminary report and issue its findings and recommendations to Hogan by December.
"Since 2003, school construction costs have more than doubled, according to the state's own dollar-per-square-foot estimates," Valentine said.
"Counties throughout the state are working with their school systems to find cost-saving solutions," he said. "In Allegany County, we are working to replace the oldest operating high school (Allegany) in the state. Initial bids were at least 40 percent higher than professional estimates. Maryland has a cost per student construction cost that is 30 percent higher than the national average."
Valentine said that while counties throughout the state are looking to cut costs, state laws continue to pile on the cost of education.
"In recent years, we have seen new stormwater regulations, energy performance requirements and expanded prevailing wage laws, which have become cost drivers for building site costs, HVAC utilities and construction labor."
Currently the co-chair of the Maryland Association of Counties education subcommittee, Valentine said he is looking forward to his new appointment.
"It will be a true honor to serve on the Commissioners on Innovation and Excellence in Education," said Valentine. "This appointment will no doubt include considerable travel for meetings and a lot of time considering recommendations, but re-thinking education in Maryland is a must."