Chief Executive Officer / Interim CEO's Testimony on Senate Bill 1101
  • Interim CEO's Testimony on Senate Bill 1101

    Interim CEO's Testimony on Senate Bill 1101

    Good afternoon Madam Chair and members of the Committee.  I am Dr. Monica Goldson, Interim CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools and I am here to testify in support of Senate Bill 1101.   I would like to thank Senator Peters for introducing this bill and for his longtime partnership with the school system. I also want to acknowledge and thank our Senators Jim Rosapepe and Melony Griffith for their many years of support for PGCPS, as well.

    No doubt, you are familiar with the staggering costs that many local school systems are facing to address the dual challenges of growing student enrollment and rapidly aging schools.  In Prince George’s County, these costs are substantial and continue to grow in light of our size, our population and the aging condition of some of our 209 schools. In recent years, we have identified over $8.5 billion needed over 20 years to fully modernize building systems and components, repair or replace our existing schools, or expand existing capacities.   

    This is clearly a sum that the State cannot provide on its own.  We have increasingly recognized the necessity to think outside of the box for how to address these growing needs through innovative financing mechanisms, other alternatives to traditional financing, as well as efficiencies and cost-saving options in school construction and maintenance.  Fuller funding of our capital improvement program, and the availability of additional alternative funding sources, are critical to ensuring adequate educational facilities are provided to meet the needs of our 134,000 students and nearly 23,000 full and part-time employees.

    This is why I am pleased to be here testifying in support of Senate Bill 1101.  By establishing a new supplemental state fund for alternatively financed public school construction projects in Prince George’s County, the bill will help advance a $1.8 billion  capital investment in our schools over the next 30 years. The additional resources will enable us to maximize P3 partnerships with the State and private entities to renovate, maintain or build new PGCPS schools in a shorter timeframe and at a lower cost than the traditional process allows.

    In practical terms, this means that by 2026, our P3 partnership would require a Private partner to design, finance, build and maintain 18 new schools: one high school, eight middle schools and nine elementary schools.  Combined, the projects would provide 6,600 new seats to add capacity for addressing overcrowding in certain areas of the county, and impact 17,400 existing seats that will be modernized through upgrading facilities that are in the poorest condition.  

    Notably, these projects would be completed in half the time, and be delivered eight years earlier, than would be possible under traditional means.  By conservative measures, the projects would provide an estimated $180 million in savings for deferred maintenance and construction costs.

    Considering the timeline and cost estimates to clear our capital improvement program backlog, this is exciting news for us, and the numbers are a clear indication of the benefits we can gain from the funding and structure of the bill.

    In closing, there is yet another benefit this bill would help provide that is not as quantifiable: the less time and expense it takes to address the adequacy of our school facilities, the greater our focus can remain on our core mission to educate children.   Every day, staff, parents and students enter our buildings expecting a quality education in facilities equipped to meet our needs now and in the future. We stand ready to do all we can to help meet that expectation.

    For these reasons, I urge your favorable vote on Senate 1101.  Thank you.