Counties and Schools Review Pre-K and “Thornton II” Bills

Two bills of interest to county governments and school boards have been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly.

Legislation to create a new statewide commission to make recommendations on education funding, and a to account for Pre-K students in State education funding have been introduced in the General Assembly.

This week, MACo’s Legislative Committee took a position of support with amendments on the Pre-K funding bill. Amendments would ensure that existing county funding for Pre-K is accounted for as the state transitions to a new way of calculating its own Pre-K aid.

The Maryland Association of Boards of Education supports the Pre-K funding bill, stating,

Senate Bill 461 has been introduced to establish specified funding for prekindergarten students by altering the definition of full-time equivalent enrollment to include prekindergarten students in the number of students enrolled for purposes of calculating specified State aid formulas for education.

MACo’s Executive Director Michael Sanderson represents Maryland counties on the Study of Adequacy of Funding for Education in the State Of Maryland stakeholder group, and there is county representation on the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education as drafted.

This new Commission follows the Commission on Education, Finance, Equity, and Excellence (also known as the Thornton Commission after its chair, Dr. Alvin Thornton) and is required by the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act enacted in 2002.

The legislation states that the new Commission will include,

Two representatives of the Maryland Association of Counties, one representing an urban county and one representing a rural county, appointed by the Executive Director of the Association.

As described by the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, the Commission bill is a priority piece of legislation for the entire educational advocacy community,

House Bill 999 and Senate Bill 905 have been introduced to establish the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education. This is the bill to form the education funding commission to review and make recommendations based on the findings and recommendations of the ongoing adequacy study.

For more information, see GreenSheet.