All 24 School Systems File For “Teacher Salary Challenge” Funds

All 24 school systems have filed indicating they funded teachers the 3% raise this year required to be eligible for added state funds.

With the new fiscal year underway, school funding has begun “rolling out” to each school system from the state and counties. Among the state funds are a batch of new initiatives included in 2019 legislation as an initial “blueprint” funding plan. Perhaps the highest profile component was state funding for additional teacher compensation, with stat urging that it be targeted toward new hires and early-career educators.


The Department, in detailing the state’s funding to jurisdictions across the state, confirmed that each of Maryland’s 24 school systems have filed applications and documentation with the State, indicating that they negotiated and received adequate funding to provide a 3% salary adjustment to teachers in fiscal year 2020.

A letter from the Department to the State Board of Education indicated that some paperwork issues have prevented the full certification, but still categorized the process as “complete.” From the Department’s letter:

All twenty-four (24) LSS [local school systems] submitted the required application and documentation for the grant award, twenty-three (23) were eligible for award. Three (3) counties were required to update their application form, we are awaiting the signed documentation before release of the grant funds

From coverage in Maryland Matters:

So far, more than $225 million has been awarded in grants by the Maryland State Department of Education. More than $251 million is expected to be released through about 150 grants for the 2019-2020 school year, Amalie Brandenburg, chief operating officer for the state department, said at a state board meeting Tuesday.

The teacher salary grants – recommended by the commission with a goal to retain high-quality teachers in the state – were allocated to school systems that provided a raise of at least 3 percent to all employees who bargain with teachers. The state funds must be used to additionally supplement teacher pay, with a priority on starting salaries and increasing the pay for teachers with less than five years of experience. One of the commission’s key findings was that almost half of new teachers in their second year will not return the next school year.

See previous Conduit Street coverage:

Hogan on Kirwan Blueprint: Okay on 2019 Bill, Yes to Funding It, and We’ll See About The Long Term

Kirwan Blueprint Funding: The Ins, Outs, What-Have-Yous

Kirwan Blueprint Bill Sailing to Governor

Note: An earlier version of this article was run indicating that all 24 jurisdictions had been fully approved as having met the teacher funding target. Further information from the Department has helped clarify that this approval is not yet complete, though all 24 school systems have applied for the funds, citing their own belief that their funding meets the requirement. The Department’s final decision is pending. MACo regrets the error.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties