On March 8, 2022, Associate Policy Director Brianna January testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in opposition to HB 1231 – Public Schools – Student Health Professional Retention Program – Established. This bill would establish and providing for the administration of and funding for the Student Health Professional Retention Program; defining “student health professional” as a person who is licensed to provide services to students in a public prekindergarten or public primary or secondary school; requiring the State Department of Education, in coordination with certain persons, to study, make recommendations, establish a plan, evaluate, and report to the General Assembly on certain matters regarding the Program on or before January 1, 2023.
From the MACo testimony:
Counties are proud to support public schools and agree with the general merit of the bill that
Maryland’s students deserve access to appropriate health professionals in our public schools. However, counties oppose the funding mandate set by HB 1231 after having just been held to the ambitious requirements of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which included many short- and long-term funding requirements for local governments.
This landmark legislation embraced a whole-system concept of successful schools and priority-setting, establishing Maryland’s priorities for educational reform. Notably, school staff pay and benefits were aspects of the Blueprint that the legislature already settled, as was the substantially enhanced funding deemed necessary for school nurses and school health programs. Compelling additional local spending for education⎯after having just approved significant funding requirements under Blueprint⎯would be unfair and unreasonable.
Counties are funding and supporting the Blueprint at the local level to ensure its successful implementation. Should HB 1231 become law, counties would be forced to redirect funding for public education at a time when taxpayer money should be directed to implementation of the Blueprint’s many educational reforms.
More on MACo’s Advocacy:
Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2022 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.
Learn more about MACo’s 2022 Legislative Initiatives.
Read more General Assembly News on MACo’s Conduit Street blog.