Montgomery County Planning Board certifies FY2022 Annual School Test and accepts School Utilization Report at June 17 meeting
June 23, 2021
Annual School Test will guide school adequacy and Utilization Premium Payments for fiscal year
WHEATON, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), certified the FY2022 Annual School Test results and accepted the accompanying School Utilization Report at their June 17 virtual meeting in accordance with the Growth and Infrastructure Policy (GIP). The GIP, formerly known as the Subdivision Staging Policy, imposes Utilization Premium Payments on developers building new housing units in school service areas projected to be overutilized. Utilization Premium Payments take the place of an automatic residential housing moratorium, which was eliminated as part of the update to the GIP in November 2020.
The Planning Board acted on the following items:
Certification of the FY2022 Annual School Test: Under the new GIP, the Annual School Test evaluates the projected utilization of each individual MCPS school facility four years in the future – the 2025-26 school year for the FY2022 Test. If a school is expected to exceed certain utilization level thresholds, its school service area is placed in a Utilization Premium Payment (UPP) tier. There are three different tiers – Tier 1 for moderate overutilization, Tier 2 for intermediate, and Tier 3 for the highest overutilization – with corresponding payment rates, which are paid by the developer in addition to any applicable school impact tax.
In addition to the automatic UPP Tier placement, the Annual School Test also determines the adequacy ceiling of each school service area to subsequent tiers. If a development application’s estimated number of students at a certain school level is found to exceed an adequacy ceiling, then the payment factor is upward adjusted in correlation to the number of students counted toward each payment tier.
Montgomery Planning staff prepared the FY2022 Annual School Test results, which were certified by the Planning Board to take effect on July 1, 2021.
Highlights of the FY2021 Annual School Test
- Tier 1 UPP placement:
- Four high school service areas (James H. Blake, Gaithersburg, Northwest, and Paint Branch)
- Two middle school service areas (John T. Baker and Benjamin Banneker)
- Six elementary school service areas (Arcola, Burning Tree, Diamond, Farmland, Judith A. Resnik, and Sargent Shriver)
- Tier 2 UPP placement:
- Three high school service areas (Clarksburg, Richard Montgomery, and Quince Orchard)
- No middle school service areas
- Four elementary school service areas (Ashburton, Bannockburn, Greencastle, and Watkins Mill)
- Tier 3 UPP placement:
- No high school or middle school service areas
- Two elementary school service areas (Burtonsville and Mill Creek Towne)
- Tier 1 UPP placement:
FY2022 School Utilization Report: The new GIP requires Montgomery Planning to prepare a School Utilization Report to accompany the Annual School Test. The Report consists of countywide and individual school elements that provide supplemental information about the county’s public school facilities. A snapshot of 2020 housing data by school service area, including single family home sales, housing development, and total residential dwelling units, was added in the FY2022 School Utilization Report. As data from additional years are analyzed, future reports may include housing trends by school service area.
About the Growth and Infrastructure Policy
The Growth and Infrastructure Policy — one of the many ways that Montgomery Planning seeks to promote the excellent quality of life in Montgomery County — focuses on having enough infrastructure to support growth. It includes criteria and guidance for the administration of Montgomery County’s Adequate Public Facility Ordinance (APFO), which balances the timing of private development with the availability of public infrastructure. Key elements of the schools element of the GIP include:
- Requiring developers of new housing to make Utilization Premium Payments (UPP) in areas with overutilized schools.
- Requiring the Planning Department to produce an annual School Utilization Report.
- Requiring the Planning Board to adopt guidelines for conducting the Annual School Test.
- Designating neighborhoods by School Impact Areas, which are characterized by the amount and type of residential development they experience and their impacts on school enrollment.
- Modifying the calculation and applicability of development impact taxes.