Education, Family, Politics

Councilman Marks to cosponsor Adequate Public Facilities legislation

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UPDATE: The Baltimore County Council has passed the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance.

Original story below…

NOTTINGHAM, MD—Baltimore County Councilman David Marks will cosponsor legislation that reforms the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO), a statute that governs how development is approved in school districts. The bill is sponsored by Councilman Izzy Patoka, chair of the County Council.

The current APFO has been widely criticized by many community leaders and parents as allowing development in areas where schools exceed their state-rated capacities.

The legislation is sponsored by County Council Chairman Izzy Patoka and cosponsored by Councilman Marks and Councilmembers Wade Kach and Mike Ertel.

“Several years ago, I sponsored a resolution that created a task force to examine possible improvements to the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance,” said Councilman Marks. “I am pleased to be a part of this effort to improve and modernize the APFO.”

The legislation has several important elements, all of which reflect the recommendations of the task force.

Among other provisions, the bill shifts the timing of the school capacity adequacy test so that it occurs prior to the issuing of a building permit.

The legislation adjusts the definition of an overcrowded school district from 115 to 100 percent of State Rated Capacity.

“Most people would agree that anything above 100 percent means a school exceeds its capacity, but that is not the case with the current APFO,” Councilman Marks added.

The bill eliminates the “adjacent district” exception that has allowed development to proceed if there is a capacity in another school zone.

The legislation creates an intergovernmental committee to address school overcrowding, to be staffed by the Department of Planning.

“I am very happy to cosponsor this legislation, and I thank Councilman Patoka for introducing the bill,” Councilman Marks concluded. “As an educator myself, I have experienced the impact of larger classes on academic achievement. This legislation helps ensure smaller classes in the future.”

During his tenure, Councilman Marks has taken steps to reduce overcrowding by downzoning thousands of acres of land, prioritizing senior-restricted housing, and working with his colleagues to open new schools. These new campuses include Honeygo Elementary in 2018, Rossville Elementary in 2022, and the new Nottingham Middle in 2024, as well as an expanded Pine Grove Middle.

Photo via Pixabay

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