State Officials Report Cost Savings Associated With New Student Assessment

The costs of technology and the amount of classroom time required to administer the new student assessment that accompanies the Common Core, (called PARCC) has been topics of concern for Maryland education stakeholders. See our previous posts, Boards of Education Comment on Draft College & Career Readiness Standards Implementation Recommendations and Commission Will Study Whether Maryland Students Are Over-tested

But following the first year of the test’s implementation, the state is finding cost savings, as reported by the Baltimore Sun,

State education officials say new standardized tests last year saved the state more than $2.5 million, compared to previous state assessments.

The state Board of Education received an overview Tuesday of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers testing, which was first used in Maryland during the 2014-2015 school year.

Statewide, 1.3 million tests were completed during the school year. More than 80 percent of students took the assessments online.

For more information, see the full story from the Baltimore Sun.

NACo Releases Annual Report and Video

NACo’s 2014-2015 Annual Report and accompanying video highlights some of the National Association of Counties’ key accomplishments from the past year, none of which would have been possible without membership from across America’s 3,069 county governments.

Some achievements include:

  • Securing renewed funding for the Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools (SRS) programs
  • Waging an aggressive campaign to reform the proposed “Waters of the United States” rule
  • Building new congressional momentum to restore previous funding cuts for local transportation infrastructure
  • Continuing to protect tax-exempt municipal bonds while advancing a level playing field for Main Street and online businesses through the Marketplace Fairness Act
  • Launching a national campaign to address our nation’s mental illness crisis in our local jails, in partnership with the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the American Psychiatric Foundation
  • Launching a new public relations campaign, “Federal Policies Matter to County Government…County Government Matters to America.”

Read the full report here, or click below to jump to a specific section in the report.

Policing and Public Safety Workgroup Holds Town Hall Meeting

The state’s work group of legislators charged with looking at public safety and policing issues held a town hall style meeting on July 23, 2015 from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm to hear from citizens about their concerns with police practices in Maryland and their recommendations for reform. The meeting included several invited panels of speaker representing statewide advocates, Baltimore City, the Eastern Shore, and Anne Arundel County. It also included brief testimony from citizens and members of the audience. Common themes brought to the work groups attention included:

  • Greater accountability
  • Increased transparency
  • Revamped training
  • Revisions to the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights
  • Increased civilian and non-police entity oversight
  • Deeper understanding of police/community interactions, community policing
  • Broader criminal justice reform

As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

Michael Scott, whose Equity Matters in Baltimore advocates for best practices in organizations, called for focused anti-racism training to help officers recognize their implicit biases.

The Rev. William Wallace of Union United Methodist Church in St. Michaels recommended training police to experience cultures other than their own and to “explore their own cultural baggage.”

The Rev. Stephen A. Tillett, president of the Anne Arundel County NAACP, called on lawmakers to ensure that civilian review boards oversee police conduct and that independent prosecutors take on cases involving killings by police.

Several witnesses called for changes to the police bill of rights law, including scrapping a provision that gives officers 10 days before they have to give a statement about an incident that raises questions about their conduct and another tossing out brutality complaints that are not made within 90 days of the incident.

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun and previous coverage on Conduit Street.

26 States Apply a Performance-Based Model to Their College and University Funding

In search of greater accountability, 26 states are applying some type of performance-based funding models to their public colleges and universities, according to Stateline, a publication of the Pew Charitable Trusts. These models use metrics like graduation rates, student performance on national exams, and connecting students with jobs instead of enrollment as the basis for receiving some public funding.

As described,

While performance-based funding made up 8.8 percent of Florida’s spending on state universities this year, Tennessee allocates almost 100 percent of its higher education funding—for both community colleges and universities—through an outcomes-based formula.

“For every degree you award, it counts. For every student that accumulates 12 hours, they count. And we just simply count those up, and those are your outcomes for that funding year,” said Crystal Collins, a director at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. “You don’t have to perform at a higher rate than you did last year; you just have to perform.”

The formula involves multiple calculations (you can check them out on the commission’s website). But basically, the state decides how much it wants to spend on higher education and parcels the money based on certain factors. A big one is whether students are progressing and graduating.

Tennessee’s model also takes into account basic operating costs and adjusts its formula based on each institution’s mission. Research universities are rewarded for spending money on research, for example, while community colleges are rewarded for connecting students with jobs.

For more information, read the whole story from Stateline.

For more information on other performance-based models, see our previous post, Congressman Delaney Calls for Smarter Government on TEDx.

Academy Core Session: County Financial Management

The budget and other financial documents play a significant role in setting priorities and implementing sound management practices. To gain a better understanding of these documents and how to use them effectively, attend the Academy Core session titled “County Financial Management” to be held during the MACo Summer Conference. Session details are below.

Description: A challenge faced by new and veteran county officials is understanding and using the government budget process, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, and other financial documents effectively as tools for setting priorities and managing the government while maintaining the fiscal integrity of the jurisdiction. Fiscal management can be infused with economic assumptions, technical jargon, and a process that seems foreign to the uninitiated. In this class, veteran public administrators discuss the budget process and financial reporting, as well as giving practical tips for county officials.

Speakers: Ted Zaleski, Director, Department of Management and Budget, Carroll County

Moderator: The Honorable Laura Price, Council Vice President, Talbot County

Date/Time: Wednesday, August 12, 2015; 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Learn more about 2015 Summer Conference Academy courses, or about the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.

Planning on Planning? You’ll Need a Plan for That

Learn about the multitude of land use plans that counties must draft and adopt at the 2015 MACo Summer Conference.


While many people know that a county must develop a detailed comprehensive plan to guide development and zoning ordinances, not everyone is aware of the numerous other plans that a county must create (and sometimes get approved by the State) in order to meet various land use and environmental goals. Besides comprehensive plans, counties must develop and update various related plans, such as: water and sewer plans; forest conservation plans; land preservation, parks, and recreation plans; and growth tier designations for septic systems. Counties must also oversee various plans for individual developments, such as stormwater management plans and grading and sediment control plans. Panelists will discuss the components of the comprehensive plan and many of the other land use plans that counties must create, review, or enforce.


  • Katheleen Freeman, Director, Caroline County Department of Planning and Codes
  • Julie Pippel, Director, Washington County Division of Environmental Management
  • Brooke Farquhar, Master Planner/Supervisor, Park and Trail Planning, Park Planning and Stewardship Division, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks
  • Marian Honeczy, Manager, Urban Forestry Programs, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Moderator: The Honorable Stephen Hershey, Jr., Maryland State Senate

Date & Time: Friday, August 14, 2015, 2:15 PM – 3:15 PM

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

For a schedule of educational sessions at MACo’s Summer Conference, please view the Registration Brochure.

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.

Expand Your Possibilities with AARP Maryland at #MACoCon

MACo would like to thank AARP Maryland for sponsoring the Crab Feast Lemonade and Water Cups at MACo’s Summer Conference, August 12-15, 2015, in Ocean City, MD. The Crab Feast is the LARGEST NETWORKING EVENT of Summer Conference.

AARP logoAARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 860,000 in Maryland, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment security and retirement planning. They advocate for consumers in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help their members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.

Please visit AARP Maryland on the web at

Thank you, AARP Maryland, a Summer Conference Sponsor, for your continued support of the Maryland Association of Counties!

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.

Baltimore Region Poised for Emerging Global Marketplace

In a Center Maryland Exclusive, Don Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC), describes how the Baltimore region is poised to play a greater role in the emerging global marketplace. To take advantage of the global economy, the Baltimore region has been selected to participate in a Global Cities Initiative Exchange sponsored by the Brookings Institute.

From the article,

More changes are no doubt in store for exports as business in the region responds to an increasing global marketplace.  In fact, when it comes to exports, the Baltimore region has a lot of assets to market and plenty of room to grow.

That’s one of the key findings as the Global Cities Initiative in Baltimore moves forward.

Baltimore is one of eight regions in the U.S. that was selected earlier this year by the Brookings Institution to be part of the Global Cities Initiative Exchange’s 2015 group. This project aims to help leaders in select U.S. metropolitan areas reorient their economies toward greater engagement in world markets – in other words being more aggressive in exporting to emerging markets the goods, services and brain power of the region.

To learn more about the global, national, and regional economy, attend the MACo Summer Conference General Session titled “The Pit and Pendulum: Economic Trends in Maryland.” Session details are below.

Description: This presentation provides a detailed, data-driven update of the performance of the global, national, and regional economy. Special attention is given to key aspects of economic life, including trends characterizing financial, real estate, energy, and labor markets in Maryland.


  • Anirban Basu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sage Policy Group

Moderator: The Honorable Tari Moore, Cecil County Executive

Date/Time: Friday, August 14, 2015; 10:45 am – Noon

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.

Beyond the Ribbon-Cutting – The Power of Placemaking

What comes to mind when you think about economic development? Groundbreakings or ribbon cuttings? A new business courted to town? That’s just scratching the surface! From small business incubators to placemaking there are lots of tools in the economic development box.  Attend the MACo Summer Conference session “Beyond the Ribbon-Cutting – The Power of Placemaking” to learn more about innovative methods of economic development being used in counties across the state. This session will be held from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. More information about the session is below:

Beyond the Ribbon-Cutting – The Power of Placemaking

Description: Economic Development is usually noticed when there is a groundbreaking or ribbon cutting – but there is more to it. This panel, comprised of members of the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA), will examine some of the other ways economic development can create opportunities. From creative use of local assets and specialized small business incubation programs to new trends in technology commercialization and a practice referred to as “placemaking,” there are many forms of economic development. Learn from this panel of experts how your community can adopt and implement some of these innovative tools and programs and the many ways economic development can transform lives.


  • Lawrence F. Twele, CEcD, President & CEO, Howard County Economic Development
  • Lisa L. Webb, CEcD, Economic Development Director, Cecil County
  • Richard G. Griffin, AICP, CEcD, Economic Development Director, City of Frederick
  • James R. Coleman, President & CEO, Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation

Moderator: The Honorable Luke Clippinger, Maryland House of Delegates

Date/Time: Thursday, August 13, 2015; 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

The MACo Summer Conference will be held August 12-15 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s conference theme is “Energize. Mobilize. Capitalize.”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

For a schedule of educational sessions at MACo’s Summer Conference, please view the Registration Brochure.

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.

The Basics of Structured Economic Development

Economic development drives the economy and creates jobs. To learn the basics of creating an economic plan for your community, attend the MACo Summer Conference session titled “The Basics of Structured Economic Development.” Session details are below.

Description: Economic development can mean different things to different people. But when developing an economic plan, people need to come together to build a common understanding and approach to achieve identified goals. This session will provide the basics for building an economic plan, identifying a jurisdiction’s strengths and weaknesses to better target economic development efforts, and supporting successful local and regional economic development programs.


  • Alex McCoy, CEcD, Economic Development Director, Garrett County
  • Lily Qi, Director of Special Projects, Montgomery County
  • Lara Fritts, CEcD, Maryland Economic Development Association, Professional Development Committee Chair, Director of Business Development, Baker, Tilly, Vichow Krause, LLP

Moderator: The Honorable Mary Washington, Maryland House of Delegates

Date/Time: Friday, August 14, 2015; 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.