School Funding Adequacy – Materials Available Online

September 22, 2014

The Maryland State Department of Education continues to work with stakeholders in studying the adequacy of current state funding levels for public education across Maryland. The group had its second formal meeting on September 18 to discuss the continued progress toward a multi-facated analysis of funding adequacy, and some specific attention to school size as a factor. MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson serves as a county representative.  The group expects to meet again in early December.

For more coverage of this group, on Conduit Street, see below:

MSDE Assembles Funding Adequacy Stakeholder Group

For those following these issues, the study group materials are online at the MSDE website:

Adequacy Study Group
September 18 presentation on adequacy analysis
September 18 presentation on School Size


Charles County School Board Creates Extracurricular Penalty

September 18, 2014

As reported by Southern Maryland Newspapers OnlineCharles County public school students who fail a course no longer will be eligible to take part in extracurricular activities for the entire subsequent semester.  The article describes,

Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, students in grades 6 through 12 must maintain a 2.25 GPA and receive at least a “D” in their courses to participate in any extracurricular activity, including sports, otherwise they will be disqualified for an entire semester. A student who is absent more than 9.5 days in the first semester of school also will be banned.

The school board unanimously approved enforcing the more stringent policy, citing a need for a more rigorous academic program. The move mirrors an emerging trend nationwide of educators who are just now turning focus to the students, primarily athletes, who are not up to scratch on their core academics but historically have skated by.

For more information, see the full story from Southern Maryland Newspapers Online.

Workgroup Discusses Common Core Implementation in Maryland

September 18, 2014

The Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards (MCCRS) and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Implementation Review Workgroup met to hear about county school system best practices for common core standards implementation and discuss several aspects of common core and PARCC implementation.  This was the fourth meeting of the Workgroup and three more meetings are scheduled.

In her presentation before the Workgroup, Queen Anne’s County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carol Williamson described her school system’s work to implement the common core standards over the past four years through an Executive Team structure of Teacher Specialists, Reading Specialists, and Math Specialists who meet weekly to review progress toward school and county-wide goals. Queen Anne’s County’s Assistant Superintendent Mrs. Roberta Leaverton then described how they started with a gap analysis between current teaching and the new standards, which then guided development of gap lessons, dedication of additional resources, and a commitment to necessary professional development. The presenters emphasized the importance of instructional coaching for teacher throughout the transition to the new standards and shared how much time is needed to continue to adjust to the new standards.

Meanwhile, the presenters stated that they have not yet seen the new PARCC assessments.  Henry Wagner, representing the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland on the Workgroup, noted the importance of keeping the fiscal impact of this reform on the radar, indicating that the transition to PARCC could create new technology and professional development costs.

The Workgroup then heard a presentation on the Teacher/Principal Evaluation System and Student Learning Objectives. Following the presentation, the Workgroup discussed next steps and decided that the chairs of the Workgroup, Jack Smith (State Superintendent of Schools’ designee) and Betty Weller (President of the Maryland State Education Association), will draft recommendations for the Workgroup’s review at the next meeting.

Joint Committee on Children, Youth, and Families Reviews Pre-K Expansion Funding

September 18, 2014

The Joint Committee on Children, Youth, and Families met on September 17th to discuss implementation of Maryland’s Pre-K Expansion Act of 2014 and a federal grant program to expand pre-K.  The meeting materials show how funding from the 2014 Act is being divided among community-based pre-K programs, public schools, and Judy Centers.  Under the Act, the following Public Schools will receive funding:

  • Baltimore County Public Schools  $272,692
  • Prince George’s County Public Schools $571,621
  • Washington County Public Schools $336,000
  • Wicomico County Public Schools $280,000
  • Caroline County Public Schools $330,000
  • Garrett County Public Schools $330,000
  • Somerset County Public Schools $330,000

The agenda for the meeting included,

Implementation of Maryland’s Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014

  • New Law in the Historical Context of Prekindergarten Expansion
  • Core Components of the Law
  • Progress Report

Federal Preschool Development — Preschool Expansion Grant

  • Focus on the Federal Grant Program
  • Strategies to Fit Maryland’s Prekindergarten Expansion
  • Timelines

Issues and Discussion

Dr. Rolf Grafwallner, Assistant State Superintendent, Division of Early Childhood Development in the Maryland State Department of Education presented at the meeting.

For more information, see the presentation on the History of Prekindergarten Expansion in MD, this summary of the Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014, and our previous posts, 2014 End of Session Wrap-Up: Education, Pre-Kindergarten Bill Moves Closer To Passage.

$3.1B School Construction Funding Demands Highlighted in Capital Debt Meeting

September 18, 2014

Review of the Capital Improvement Program, Presentation to Capital Debt Affordability Committee by Teresa Garraty, Maryland Department of Budget & Management, September 17, 2014

In the September 17th meeting of Maryland Capital Debt Affordability Committee, Terri Garraty, Executive Director of the Department of Budget and Management’s Office of Capital Budgeting noted that school construction makes up $3.1 billion of the $5.3 billion total for capital grant program budget requests from FY 2016-FY 2020.

Following the overview by the Department of Budget and Management, Dr. David Lever, Executive Director of the Interagency Committee on School Construction, spoke about the school construction capital budget.  In a couple of weeks, Lever said, he would be meeting with county school boards on this topic.

Lever said that new education requirements are driving some facility costs, as well as the age of Maryland’s school plant and enrollment growth in some areas.  He also said that the prevailing wage law passed last year may translate into an increase in costs that could mean fewer projects are built each year.  The new law could affect contracts in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, and Montgomery County, which with other large jurisdictions receive the largest share of project approvals in the annual Capital Improvement Program.

For more information, including the handouts from the meeting, see the Capital Debt Affordability Committee.

New Vaccine Requirements in Maryland Schools

September 17, 2014

As reported by NBC news, students enrolling in school in Maryland for the 2014-2015 school year are required to get some new vaccinations.  NBC states that at least three counties in Maryland will ask for an extension on new vaccine requirements that could have kept students out of school.  According to NBC’s report,

The state announced [last] Friday that school districts may apply for a 45-day extension for students to get the immunizations. On Monday, school officials in Montgomery County said they have already applied for the extension, and officials in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties say they plan to.

Charles County Public Schools provides the following details on their website,

Prekindergarten requirements:

  • DaPT
  • Polio
  • Haemophilus Influenza type B, known as HIB
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Varicella
  • Prevnar

Kindergarten requirements:

  • DaPT
  • Polio
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella
  • Hepatitis B

Requirements for grades 1-12:

  • DaPT
  • Polio
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella
  • Hepatitis B

NBC reports that the new standards are in line with a national recommendation for vaccinations in schools.  As described by NBC,

Kurt Seetoo, the senior immunization epidemiologist at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said the new requirements brings the state on board with the “30 to 40 states” that have already implemented the national recommendation.

For more information, see New Vaccine Requirements: At Least Three Maryland School Districts to Request Extension, Maryland Schools Can Request Extension for Vaccine Deadline, and Maryland Introduces New Vaccination Requirements for School Enrollment from NBC news, and this announcement from Charles County Public Schools.

Education Adequacy Study Stakeholder Advisory Group To Hold Second Meeting

September 16, 2014

The Stakeholder Advisory Group will holds its second meeting this Thursday, September 18th.  The Adequacy Funding Study is a follow-up to the Thornton Commission required by the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002. The Stakeholder Advisory Group is charged with “ensuring the [Adequacy Funding] study is thorough and reflective of the distinctive characteristics of Maryland and its public schools.”

The first meeting of the Stakeholder Advisory Group was held on August 12.  The first meeting included an introduction by Kristy Michel, Chief Operating Officer of the Maryland State Department of Education and a presentation by consultants hired by the State to perform the Adequacy Funding Study,  Augenblick, Palaich and Associates. A powerpoint presentation by the consultants describes the background of their firm, project timelines, and deliverables.  As described in the presentation, the areas that Augenblick will study include:

  • Equity and Local Wealth Measures
    • Conduct school finance equity study to determine status of horizontal & vertical equity and fiscal neutrality in state– Include measures of property and income wealth currently used in state finance formulas
    • Review literature and other state’s policies on wealth measurement
    • Develop conclusions and recommendations
  • Increasing/Decreasing Enrollment
    • Analyze enrollment trends and relationship to operating, transportation and capital revenues and expenditures over 10 years
    • Identify key factors influencing transportation costs
    • Review literature and other state’s policies on fiscal effects of changing enrollment
    • Develop conclusions and recommendations, including potential adjustments in state transportation funding formulas to incentivize efficiencies

Data from the “Summary of School Size Report,” prepared for the Maryland State Department of Education

At the Thursday meeting, the contractor Augenblick, Palaich and Associates will provide an overview of the following reports:

Michael Sanderson, MACo’s Executive Director, serves as MACo’s representative on the stakeholder group.  For more information, contact Robin Clark at MACo, (410) 269-0043 or see the Maryland Department of Education.


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