A bill intending to provide State grants for counties to hire local Blueprint coordinators — as mandated by The Blueprint — was amended, ultimately raising the salary burden on locals.
As introduced, HB 1196 – County Boards of Education – Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Implementation Coordinator – Salary Grant would provide State grants of $150,000 to each of the 24 local education agencies (LEAs) for FYs 25-26 to cover the hiring and salaries of Local Blueprint Coordinators. The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (“The Blueprint”) requires that all school districts hire a professional Blueprint Coordinator to guide the LEA’s implementation of the educational reform law and to liaise with the State.
MACo and counties were in strong support of HB 1196, viewing the bill as a clear demonstration of the State’s commitment to partner with locals to successfully manage the Blueprint’s many financial challenges.
Unfortunately, the bill was amended and passed by the House in a manner which greatly alters the intent of the bill. Amended, HB 1196 now:
- Mandates every county board of education to provide a minimum salary of $150,000 for its Blueprint Coordinator position, regardless of variances in costs of living and financial capacity among the 24 diverse jurisdictions;
- Strikes the State grants to pay for these positions and instead splits the salary cost at the foundation formula rate between the State and counties; and
- Provides some financial support for two specific LEAs.
In essence, instead of lessening the burden of the Blueprint mandate to hire Blueprint Coordinators, HB 1196 now elevates the mandate for nearly all counties.
MACo’s Testimony in support of the bill as originally intended illustrates the critical need for the Senate to pass the bill as originally drafted:
The financial support of HB 1196 will provide critical help for counties – relieving them of the additional burden related to hiring and staffing implementation coordinators. Importantly, the bill would provide the necessary funding for all 24 jurisdictions to do so, at the same rate, for the entire implementation period legally requiring these positions, through FY 26. In doing so, HB 1196 creates full parity across all 24 localities and empowers each to hire the same highcaliber candidates to help guide their county through Maryland’s most consequential education reform in a generation.
For more on MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2023 legislative session, visit MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database.