County Board of Education 2015 Budgets

October 20, 2014

Maryland’s county board of education 2015 budgets are now available on MACo’s website.  Several counties also share additional information about their budgets in presentations and graphics.  Howard County’s Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Education created a video presentation of the early phases of their four phase budget process.  Frederick County’s Board of Education recorded a series of videos, including one on the budget cycle.  Harford County’s Board of Education provides visual depiction of its operating and unrestricted budget.

harford boe budget

Courtesy of the Harford County Board of Education


MACo and Maryland Community College Presidents Meet to Discuss Future Collaboration

October 20, 2014

MACo staff joined Maryland’s Community College Presidents last week to discuss legislative topics of mutual interest and concern, including the economy, the State budget, operating and capital funding funding for community colleges, and the expansion of the dual-enrollment program.

The conversation included a discussion shared goals and collaboration between MACo and Maryland’s community colleges in the upcoming legislative session.  MACo’s Executive Director Michael Sanderson described some of the changes that elections bring to the General Assembly and county government, and his perspective on the economy and the recent State revenue write-down.  MACo’s Policy Analyst Robin Clark discussed MACo’s support for full Cade funding for community colleges and MACo’s testimony last year on SB 749/HB490, a bill involving unionization of college campus faculty and staff.

For more information on these subjects, see our previous posts, State Revenue Estimates Drop $405 MillionMACo Hosts Community Colleges, Supports FundingBudget Plan Limits Growth in Community College FundingCade Funding Letter From MACo Education Committee 2014Harford Community College Officials Voice Concern Over Collective Bargaining Bill2014 Session Wrap-Up: Libraries & Community Colleges.



Cecil County Public Schools Go Solar with Standard Solar, Inc.

October 17, 2014

Standard Solar, Inc., a MACo Silver Corporate Partner, recently announced that a solar project is currently under construction for the Cecil County Public Schools and will be completed by the end of the year.

From the article,

The Cecil County Public Schools site will feature more than 7,500 solar panels which will be installed in a ground mounted array at the Cecil County School of Technology in North East, MD. The system will produce up to 2.5 megawatts direct current. This is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions of 4 tons of carbon dioxide, or 3,851 pounds of coal burned, or 1.3 tons of waste sent to landfills. The system will provide approximately 92 percent of Cecil County’s Board of Education’s six building electricity load.

The Cecil County solar array project was developed and is being installed by Standard Solar. SunEdison will provide the financing via a power purchase agreement. The MEA is providing a $98,000 grant to help offset the cost of interconnecting the solar system to the electrical grid. More generally, the Maryland legislature and Governor Martin O’Malley have created financial, net metering and other incentives that allow counties, municipalities and other entities to reduce their electricity costs by installing solar systems. These efforts were implemented in order to help the State of Maryland realize its Renewable Portfolio Standard goal of 20 percent renewable energy generation by 2022.

“This project marks Cecil County Board of Education’s commitment to furthering the advancement of solar energy and we are honored to take part in this event recognizing the progress in bringing this commitment to reality,” said Standard Solar CEO Tony Clifford.

To read more about this solar project, visit

Joplin High School Reopens with Career-Focus

October 13, 2014

Maryland counties regularly work with the local community colleges to develop training programs suited for the local job market and in recent years, there has been a new focus on introducing high schoolers to programs that promote their job preparedness, evidenced in the Maryland Legislature’s implementation of Maryland’s College and Career Readiness Standards and its reforms to the dual-enrollment system.

Joplin, Missouri, however, has taken another step towards preparing its high school students for the workforce. In rebuilding after a 2011 tornado, Joplin took the opportunity to  develop and implement a “Career Path curriculum” with help from school, community, and business representatives that centers on core foundational knowledge and skills, plus the soft skills employers demand from their employees.

As reported by the US Department of Education, Secretary Duncan noted how this school represents the future of education,

Referring to his previous visit three years ago, Secretary Duncan spoke of how he left inspired and full of hope, and that he is not surprised at Joplin’s dramatic recovery. “In that one day [in 2011], I had some sense of the fiber and character of this community,” he said.

“It would have been much easier to build a high school that just built upon what was here in the past. This community decided that the children of Joplin deserved something much better. So they built a high school not for yesterday, not for today, but for tomorrow. In blending vocational education and college education, [and] making sure we’re not tracking children into one path or another, but giving them the option to develop for college and for careers.”

Going forward, many of Joplin’s graduates will enter college with two years of college credit under their belt, saving students and their families thousands of dollars in tuition.

“This is a vision of what high schools all across America should be doing and can be doing.”

For more information, see the complete blog post from the US Department of Education.

Academics Would Add an “A” to STEM Education

October 10, 2014

Image courtesy of The Atlantic.

At this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, The Atlantic asked a group of academics within some of America’s top universities to debate how STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) could be benefited by another letter.  Those interviewed unanimously suggested changing the acronym to STEAM, to include an ‘A’ for arts, or arts and humanities.

“I have no hesitation in saying we need to add the letter A,” says Harvard University education professor Howard Gardner. “An education devoid of arts…is an empty, half-brain kind of education.” Other panelists include Sebastian Thrun, Drew Faust, Erika Christakis, and Nicholas Dirks.

For more information, view the video from The Atlantic.

Mapping States’ Pre-K Enrollment and Funding

October 9, 2014

Image courtesy of Governing Magazine

Governing magazine has posted a map illustrating pre-K enrollment for three and four-year-olds on a state-by-state basis throughout the US.  The map also provides data on 2010-2011 spending figures compiled by the National Institute for Early Education Research.  As described by Governing,

Pre-K funding has declined in most states, with some areas reporting significant reductions. At the same time, state early education enrollment rose by nearly 31,000 last year. Nationwide, 28 percent of 4-year-olds and 4.3 percent of 3-year-olds attended a state pre-k program.

For more information, see Governing Data’s, Pre-K Enrollment and Funding: State Totals.

Poll and Report Show Support for Post-Labor Day School Start Date

October 8, 2014

As reported in the Daily Record, a new poll of 708 residents released by the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College found that 71 percent of those asked said they supported moving the start of school until after Labor Day while 17 percent said they opposed.

Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot has stated that a later start date would bring economic benefits to the State by extending summer vacations.  In August, the Comptroller kicked off the “Let Summer Be Summer” campaign, stating,

“Busy families have so little time to spend together to build lifelong memories. Increasingly, the end-of-summer vacation no longer happens because of decisions to begin school a week, or even ten days, before Labor Day,” Comptroller Franchot said. “This not only cuts into one last chance for Marylanders to spend time together as a family, but it also negatively impacts small businesses throughout our state. We all need to do what we can to support small businesses and promote economic activity. To continue as we have causes unnecessary harm to our economy for no good reason.”

The Task Force to Study a Post Labor-Day Start Date for Maryland Public Schools recommended a post-Labor Day school start date by a vote of 12-3 in its June 2014 report.

For more information, see the full story from the Daily Record and the Office of the Comptroller and the Task Force to Study a Post Labor-Day Start Date for Maryland Public Schools.


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