2022 End of Session Wrap-Up: Education

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of education policy in the 2022 General Assembly. 

Counties support education as the largest component of their budgets, with operating and capital support for schools typically representing a larger share of a county budget than all other functions combined. Statutory formulas drive most state-level funding, which requires constant attention to the state-county balance in funding responsibilities. The burden of costly mandates can fall on county budgets unless state resources are provided. MACo typically advocates for fair and accountable school funding and opposes unfunded new requirements.

This year, the Maryland General Assembly conducted a legislative session unlike any other due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The unique circumstances surrounding the 443rd legislative session, including necessary health and safety measures, posed a challenge for lawmakers and advocates alike. Despite the unusual circumstances, MACo’s advocacy still led to more positive outcomes for its members.

Follow these links for more coverage on our Conduit Street blog and Legislative Database


Community Colleges and Higher Education

MACo supported legislation to expand eligibility for the Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship Program, increase the number of years a recipient may hold an award, allows part-time students to qualify, and, importantly, allow employment with county government to count toward the scholarship program’s public service work requirement to incentive cybersecurity students to pursue work with in the public sector. HB 24 / SB 4 Cybersecurity Scholarship Program – Alterations passed the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 


MACo supported legislation that would have appropriated state funding for a series of mandated tuition waivers and in-state tuition for college students, including at community colleges. In essence, the bill would have funded a currently unfunded mandate. HB 1102 / SB 799 Community College Tuition and Residency Waivers – Funding failed in the General Assembly.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 

MACo supported legislation to fully fund and build upon the community colleges funding approach ⎯ also known as the Senator John A. Cade Funding formula ⎯ used to calculate the allowance for community colleges as a percentage of state aid provided to four-year institutions. HB 1101 / SB 795 Community Colleges and Private Nonprofit Institutions of Higher Education – Funding failed in the General Assembly. However, community colleges received full funding in the fiscal year 2024 operating budget.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 

MACo supported legislation to cut down on administrative and operational costs and would make the process of transferring schools easier on both Maryland’s students and schools. HB 598 / SB 540 Higher Education – Transfer Platform – Established (Transfer With Success Act 2.0) failed in the General Assembly.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 


School Funding and Special Programs

MACo opposed legislation that would have imposed a costly, burdensome mandate —without accompanying State support — for school systems and county governments to install and maintain video recording devices in any self-contained classroom in which the majority of students are special education students. HB 226 Public Schools – Self-Contained Special Education Classroom Video Recording Pilot Program / SB 577 Public Schools – Self–Contained Special Education Classroom – Use of Video Recording Devices failed in the General Assembly.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 

MACo opposed legislation that would require the State and certain counties to pay salary increases for special education teachers at nonpublic educational programs. The bill would have imposed this funding mandate 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. HB 1301 / SB 706 Nonpublic Educational Programs – Children With Disabilities – Costs of Teacher Salaries failed in the General Assembly.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 

MACo supported legislation to expand regionally representative membership on the Blueprint Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB). Currently, the Board lacks representation from whole swaths of the state, namely, Western Maryland, the Eastern Shore, and Southern Maryland. It also does not properly reflect some of the most populous counties of the state, including Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties. HB 633 / SB 933 Education – Accountability and Implementation Board – Membership failed in the General Assembly.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 

MACo supported legislation to increase the per person State funding of libraries and regional resource centers. The increase in state support will better match the financial support counties currently provide these institutions. HB 695 / SB 448 Education – Regional Resource Centers and Libraries – Funding passed the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 

MACo supported legislation with amendments that would require county boards of education to procure digital tools of equivalent access for visually and hearing impaired students. MACo pursued amendments to allow greater flexibility in the definition of “equivalent access” to better suit the diverse needs and constraints of local education agencies. That amendment was adopted by the General Assembly, however, SB 617 Local School Systems – Equivalent Access Standards – Digital Tools (Equivalent and Nonvisual Access Accountability Act for K-12 Education) / HB 547Local School Systems – Equivalent Access Standards – Digital Tools (Nonvisual Access Accountability Act for K-12 Education) failed.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 

MACo supported legislation to improve transparency in Maryland’s public education funding and expenditures, for which counties have long advocated. HB 1124 Primary and Secondary Education – Local School Systems – Budget Reporting failed in the General Assembly.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 

MACo sought amendments to a bill redefining “Maintenance of Effort” funding obligation for each county in the coming fiscal year. HB 1426 / SB 640 Primary and Secondary Education – Maintenance of Effort Requirements – Alterations was introduced to compensate for a drop in public school enrollment appearing in the September 2021 student count. MACo urged that the bill ensure that this required “hold harmless” funding did not build itself into the school funding base for future years. While SB 640 did not advance, its full contents (along with multiple other provisions) were amended into HB 1450, including the MACo requested amendment – that bill’s fiscal note provides the clearest illustration of FY 23 Maintenance of Effort for each county. HB 1450 passed the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage I HB 1450 Bill Information

 

MACo supported legislation to establish a grant program and funding for counties to pursue partnerships with nonprofits to encourage youth reading and literacy and provide free, quality literature and materials for Maryland’s young readers.  HB 383 / SB 438 Young Readers Programs – Establishment (Young Readers Program Expansion Act) passed the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 


Child Care Assistance

MACo supported legislation to provide bonuses for child care providers and employees as the industry continues to suffer under the COVID-19 pandemic and “great resignation.” HB 1100 / SB 806 Child Care Providers and Employees – Bonuses passed the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 

MACo supported legislation to provide state financial aid for existing linseed child care providers via establishing a Child Care Stabilization Grant Program and would incentivize new providers to come into the market via a Child Care Expansion Grant Program. SB 480 Child Care Stabilization Grant Program and Child Care Expansion Grant Program – Established / HB 89 State Department of Education – Child Care Stabilization Grants passed the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 


Student Health Programming and Funding

MACo supported legislation to establish a student vision program, including requiring county boards of education to provide students with increased eye screenings, and when necessary, exams and glasses, with amendments. MACo pursued amendments to shift the Vision for Maryland Program and accompanying $2 million in state funding to a statewide pilot program with a required study to see if it the programming and its funding are sufficient to address statewide need, with special emphasis on estimating the impact on the local school systems and potential costs of providing eye exams and glasses; to study evaluating options for how the State can leverage its economy of scale to buy glasses and other vision accessories at potentially reduced cost; and to clarify that the Vision for Maryland Program and accompanying $2 million in state funding is supporting operational and fiscal needs of the existing (and under HB 1233, expanded) vision screening requirements for all public school students in the state. While the major objectives of MACo’s amendments were incorporated into the bill, it still needed significant work and, ultimately, HB 1233 Public Schools – Health and Vision Services – Required Screenings and Eye Examinations failed in the General Assembly.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 

MACo opposed costly legislation to require each county board of education to provide a full-time registered nurse at each public school. The bill failed to consider the range of regionally specific student needs that each jurisdiction factors into its hiring and staffing of school health professionals. Currently, local governments employ school nurses through a variety of arrangements that best suit the unique needs of each school district – some do so through the local boards of education, while others do so through the county departments of health. Counties base this decision on several considerations, including available resources, hiring and management preferences, and collective bargaining. HB 1004 would have mandated that all school nurses be employed through county boards of education. HB 1004 / SB 856 Public Schools – Health Services – School Nurses failed in the General Assembly.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 

MACo opposed costly legislation to provide a series of pay increases for several classes of student health professionals, setting a funding mandate after counties were just held to the ambitious requirements of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which included many short- and long-term funding requirements for local governments.HB 1231 Public Schools – Student Health Professional Retention Program – Established failed in the General Assembly.

Bill Information I MACo Coverage

 


More information on education-related legislation tracked by MACo during the 2022 legislative session.

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