top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County ‘APFO’ school overcrowding bill likely to backfire | GUEST COMMENTARY

Last month, Gov. Wes Moore signed into law one of the most ambitious housing bills in Maryland history. It removed regulatory and zoning hurdles for desperately needed affordable housing across the state. Around the same time, the Baltimore County Council filed legislation to stop the construction of new units under the auspices of expanding the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, otherwise known as “APFO.”

Under Baltimore County’s existing APFO, no new housing is allowed in attendance areas for schools that are over 115% capacity. If a school district is over capacity, existing law allows developers to build housing if there is an adjacent school district that is under capacity, with an eye toward future redistricting.

Legislation sponsored by Baltimore County Council Chairman Izzy Patoka modifies the definition of a “closed” school district from 115% to 100% of State Rated Capacity. This legislation also eliminates the “adjacent district” exception.

There’s no arguing with the political salience of APFO. School overcrowding is a real problem, especially in jurisdictions with high-performing, well-funded public schools. It is easier to identify new housing and “greedy developers” as the cause of increased class sizes and portable classrooms than to acknowledge the ugly consequences of a public school system built around socio-economic segregation in housing. No one has ever decided not to buy a home because the schools are overcrowded. Rather, it is precisely the fact that these schools are so desirable that generates the pressure on capacity that so many counties are facing.

Read the full article on The Baltimore Sun.


bottom of page