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…

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Allegany County “Beats the Odds” With Math Outcomes: Here’s How

A recent analysis of many school systems' outcomes identified a true standout - Allegany County, Maryland. What is this rural, fairly poor county doing right? The 74, a non-profit, non-partisan news site covering education in America, tends toward the data-driven when performing its analyses of school systems, funding, and outcomes. In a recent analysis of public school math outcomes, they identify Allegany County, Maryland as an interesting outlier, and discuss why that seems to be…

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NACo Rural County Housing “Learning Cohort” Open

NACo has a national initiative to help advance rural counties' efforts to both expand affordable housing and understand the link between housing, health and equity.  The National Association of Counties (NACo) and County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R) have partnered to offer this RICC Action Learning Cohort opportunity. Recognizing the critical role local officials play in supporting innovation and change, NACo has a national initiative to help advance county efforts to both expand affordable housing…

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US House Votes To Repeal “Cadillac Tax” On Health Care Plans

The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to repeal a scheduled new "tax" on high-value health care plans offered by employers. In an environment where bipartisan consensus can be hard to find in Washington DC, it appeared to power a House vote to repeal the pending "Cadillac tax" that would apply to high-value health care plans offered by employers. From coverage in The Hill: The wide bipartisan vote of 419-6 illustrates how the tax is one of…

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NACo Wraps Conference, Looks Ahead (and Back)

The National Association of Counties held a successful and productive annual conference, installing its new leadership team to advance the counties' message to policy makers across the country. The National Association of Counties (NACo) wrapped its annual conference in Clark County, NV with the installation of new Association President, The Honorable Mary Ann Borgeson, a Douglas County Nebraska Commissioner. The membership also elected The Honorable Larry Johnson, a DeKalb County, Georgia Commissioner to serve as…

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Montgomery Considering Air Conditioning Mandate For Rentals

The Montgomery County Council will consider local legislation to require rental properties in the county be air conditioned - responding to frequent dangerous heat conditions. Council Member Tom Hucker, seen above in an interview with Fox 5 News, argues that the proposal recognizes that cooling is a necessity, alongside similar laws mandating rental properties be heated: "I think in the old days we thought of air conditioning as a comfort issue," Hucker told FOX 5's…

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Wrap Up, and Look Ahead, with the Governor at #MACoCon

Be there for the traditional closing session with Governor Hogan, as he reflects on the year (and the conference), and helps Maryland turn the corner toward 2020 and beyond. Each year, MACo's summer conference serves as the unofficial turning point between wrapping up 2019, and looking at ahead to 2020. We are glad to once again host Governor Larry Hogan, as his Saturday morning address will punctuate that shift, and help county and state policymakers…

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Speaker Jones: School Construction Will Be “The First Bill In”

Speaker Adrienne Jones announced her intention to make a "supercharged" school construction proposal the first order or business in the next legislative session. As legislators begin to look ahead to the 2020 legislative session, Speaker Adrienne Jones has identified school construction as a top priority. She references a bill passed by the House last session, but which failed to advance in the Senate. From coverage in the Baltimore Sun: Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne…

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What Counts as a Meeting? You Might Be Surprised…

A recent ruling from Maryland's Open Meetings Compliance Board holds that a series of communications, even one-to-one, may create the fabric of a meeting, and trigger the state's "open meetings" laws. In a recent opinion, the State's Open Meetings Compliance Board reviewed actions by the Talbot County Council (a charter county that does not have an elected Executive, leaving the Council to nominally serve in a dual capacity as legislative and executive branches, much like…

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CBO Evaluates Federal Minimum Wage Effects on Families, Job Levels

The Congressional Budget Office has released an analysis- on jobs and family incomes - from altering the federal minimum wage to various higher levels by 2025. The Congressional Budget Office, the fiscal professionals serving the US Congress, prepare the oft-watched "scores" for fiscal proposals, as well as various policy reports throughout the year. This week, they released a report on the economic impacts of changing the federal minimum wage. The full report, "The Effects on…

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