Sanctuary Cities, Maryland Could Lose Federal Justice Grant Dollars

The Attorney General announces that sanctuary cities could lose federal Department of Justice funding, with a specific mention of legislation pending in Maryland.

The Attorney General released a statement today, available on the Department of Justice website. In part, he states,

DUIs, assaults, burglaries, drug crimes, gang crimes, rapes, crimes against children and murders.  Countless Americans would be alive today – and countless loved ones would not be grieving today – if the policies of these sanctuary jurisdictions were ended.

Not only do these policies endanger the lives of every American; just last May, the Department of Justice Inspector General found that these policies also violate federal law.

The President has rightly said that this disregard for the law must end.  In his executive order, he stated that it is the policy of the executive branch to ensure that states and cities comply with all federal laws, including our immigration laws.

The order also states that “the Attorney General and the Secretary [of Homeland Security] . . . shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply” with the law “are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary.”

According to The Hill, state and local governments seeking Justice Department grants must certify they are not “sanctuary cities.”

Sessions also called on Maryland to scrap any movement toward becoming a sanctuary state. Legislation is making its way through the state legislature.

“That would be such a mistake,” he said.

“I would plead with the people of Maryland to understand this makes the state of Maryland more at risk for violence and crime, that it’s not good policy.”

The Maryland bill in question, HB 1362, set explicit parameters limiting state and local agencies and officials from cooperating with federal immigration efforts. As introduced the bill broadly prohibited government agents from assisting federal agents, releasing information, and responding to notifications so long as those actions were taken for immigration enforcement purposes.

HB 1362 passed out of the House with amendments that significantly curtailed a number of provisions within the bill. As amended the bill prohibits government participation in federal immigration efforts unless there is a judicial warrant. The bill now sits within the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee which has not yet taken any action on it or its crossfile SB 835. Governor Hogan has stated he would veto the bill. MACo opposed HB 1362 as its stringent limitations would create logistical and public safety challenges that have far-reaching and significant consequences for local governments.

For more information, see Sessions says grants to be withheld from sanctuary cities from The Hill, Attorney General Jeff Sessions Delivers Remarks Announcing Sanctuary Jurisdictions from the Department of Justice, and Revised immigration Trust Act moves forward in House from The Baltimore Sun.

Montgomery County Council Responds to Email Address Publication

As reported by the Washington Post, last week “more than 200,000 email addresses of people receiving newsletters and other information from the county government were made public on the county’s website.”

The County Council responded by asking their attorney to remove from public view many of the email addresses, and one council member has drafted an amendment to the 2012 Open Government Law that required the disclosure, according to the Post.

For more information, see Too much transparency? Montgomery balks at publishing residents’ email addresses (limited free views available) from the Washington Post.

Proposals Depart from School Board’s At-Large Elections

The Howard County Board of Education discussed and heard testimony on three state legislative measures that would change to the way their members are chosen.

Legislative proposals would alter the at-large elections of Howard County school board members.

As reported in the Baltimore Sun, Howard County’s Board of Education meeting included discussion of three separate bills on the topic of selection of local school board members. The General Assembly will consider the bills when they reconvene on January 11 in Annapolis.

From the Sun,

One, from Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, would see school board members elected from each of the county’s five councilmanic districts, with the two remaining seats elected at-large. Currently, school board candidates run for seven at-large seats in a non-partisan race.

Two other measures propose assembling public commissions to draw school board districts. Del. Bob Flanagan and Sen. Gail Bates, both Republicans from west county, said their proposals aim to keep politics out of the school board race by foregoing councilmanic districts that they consider to be unfairly drawn.

From the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, seven members of the Howard County School Board are elected at-large to 4-year terms, with an additional student member that serves a 1-year term.

For more information, see Howard school board bills debated for second year.

National Association of Counties Accepting Ideas for 2017 Policy Resolutions

The NACo resolutions process provides members with the ability to participate in national policy decisions affecting county governments.

NACo’s 2017 Legislative Conference, will be held in Washington, D.C. on February 25 – March 1, 2017

During the Legislative Conference, NACo’s 10 policy steering committees and the Board of Directors consider legislative and policy resolutions that will guide NACo advocacy until the NACo Annual Conference in July 2017.

In preparation for NACo’s 2017 Legislative Conference, held in Washington, D.C. on February 25 – March 1, NACo invites county government officials to submit interim policy resolutions. All resolutions must be submitted electronically (preferably as a Word document) via email to by January 25, 2017.

From NACo:

IMPORTANT REMINDER: If you plan to submit a policy resolution, you (or a designated representative) must appear in person at the steering committee meeting at the 2017 Legislative Conference to introduce and explain the resolution.

For more information, see the National Association of Counties.


A County-by-County Breakdown of the $1B Ask for Education Funding

The consultants’ final report on education funding, presented to the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education earlier this month, includes suggestions for county-by-county funding increases and decreases. 

Meeting and Report Overview

Earlier this month, the State’s consultants presented their final report recommending a $2.9B funding increase to achieve state education standards to the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, also known as the Kirwan Commission.

More than $1B of that funding would come from the local share of education expenses. However, due to the many changes recommended, fourteen counties would see a decrease in their local share of education expenses, while the other ten would see increases.

The $1B increase in funding represents a 19% increase from a current $5.39B local share of K-12 education expenses to $6.43B. Since local boards of education do not have independent authority to raise revenue, county governments would be asked to provide that cost increase. The State, which is only currently providing $4.87B of corresponding costs, would be required to increase its share 39% to $6.78B.

The consultants’ report is a suggestion only. Any ultimate recommendation for funding changes would come from the Kirwan Commission in the fall of 2018. And the report was not embraced with open arms when presented to the Commission, either. Commissioners questioned the consultants’ approach, scope, and conclusions, especially in light of other expert testimony the Commission has heard. Several components of the draft report (at that time) were not analogous to the previous items that had been presented to the stakeholder group.

Video of the meeting is online, and available at the Maryland General Assembly website, under the House Appropriations Committee December 8th. The next meeting of the Commission is scheduled for Monday, January 9th at 1pm in Annapolis. Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more updates.

County-by-County Effects

As the Commission continues broader conversations on education funding and begins to determine whether and how to integrate any of the consultants’ suggestions within its own recommendations, it is worthwhile to review the funding estimates in the report that relate to county governments.

A chart on page 109-110 of the report summarizes state and county-by-county funding changes for education that make up the $1B.

adequacyA few factors in the report that contribute to the cost increases listed above include:

With regard to how these changes would affect current maintenance of effort laws, the consultants state:

Under the proposed method of determining state and local shares, the State should also revise its maintenance of effort requirement, which requires each jurisdiction to appropriate the greater of its total foundation local share or its prior year per pupil total local appropriation. Because the proposed total required local share would consist of the foundation, compensatory education, LEP, and special education local shares, the maintenance of effort should be changed to the greater of the proposed total required local share or its prior year per pupil total local appropriation to make it consistent with the changes to the required local share.

Additional suggestions that affect funding include:

For more information see the Adequacy Study of Funding for Education in Maryland – Final (December 2016), the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (the Kirwan Commission), and our previous post, K-12 Funding Consultants: Spend $2.6B More, Huge Winners/Losers.

Local Elections Prompt Changes to Education Association Leadership

As a result of local elections, Joy Schaefer of the Frederick County Board of Education will assume the presidency of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education. 

Joy Schaefer of Frederick County is President of MABE.

In October, Donna L. Brightman was sworn in as the President of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE). Brightman, however, lost her seat on the Washington County Board of Education in the recent elections creating a vacancy in the lead MABE post. Schaeffer has also joined the Kirwan Commission as a representative of MABE.

As reported by the Maryland Association of Boards of Education:

. . . According to MABE Bylaws, the president-elect assumes the chair, and other officers are elected by the current board of directors.

Joy Schaefer, Frederick County, was elected president-elect by the MABE membership at the business meeting during their Annual Conference in October. She assumed the presidency of MABE as of December 6, 2016.

Schaefer was first elected to the Frederick Board of Education in 2012, and re-elected in 2016. She has been involved with MABE in various capacities, including completing board development programs Leadership I and II, and serving on several committees. She most recently served a year as MABE secretary, and two years as the chair of MABE’s Legislative Committee.

According to MABE, other vacancies were filled by appointment of the president with the approval of the board of directors:

  • Charles McDaniels, Jr., Baltimore County, president-elect;
  • Nancy Reynolds, Harford County, treasurer;
  • Martha James-Hassan, Baltimore City, secretary; and
  • New board of directors members
    • Michael Durso, Montgomery County, and
    • Laura Runyeon, Harford County.

For more information, see the Maryland Association of Boards of Education.

Sign Up for the Maryland Education Plan Listening Tour

The Maryland State Department of Education is organizing a series of open meetings on ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act and Maryland’s Draft State Plan for ESSA


A series of meetings across the State will provide overview information on ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act, and allow participants to engage in a group discussion regarding Maryland’s Draft State Plan for ESSA.

Each ESSA feedback session will include a welcome and an overview to the Every Student Succeeds Act. Participants then choose specific topics to discuss in small groups. Within the small groups, participants will be provided an overview of the selected ESSA topic and then engage in discussion questions surrounding the topic.

The discussion topics include:

  • Accountability
  • Educator Supports
  • Student Supports
  • Supporting Low Performing Schools

Dates and Locations:

January 5: Western Maryland Session
Washington County Board of Education
10435 Downsville Pike, Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

January 10: Eastern Shore Session
Dorchester Career and Technology Center
2475 Cambridge Bypasss, Cambridge, Maryland 21613

January 17: Baltimore Metro Session
Baltimore Polytechnic Institute
1400 Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21209

January 19: D.C. Metro Session
Charles Herbert Flowers High School
10001 Ardwick-Ardmore Rd., Springdale, MD 20774

January 24: Southern Maryland Session
College of Southern Maryland, Prince Frederick Campus
115 J.W. Williams Road, Prince Frederick, MD 20678

More information and registration are available from MSDE.

Boards of Education 2017 Positions Include School Construction

The Maryland Association of Boards of Education have adopted positions to guide their advocacy in the upcoming General Assembly Session, including school construction.

County governments provide local school boards with the overwhelming majority of school construction funding statewide, according to the 2016 State of Our Schools Report.

School construction, one of MACo’s top four priorities, is one of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education’s (MABE’s) legislative positions for the 2017 Session of the General Assembly.

MACo and MABE frequently work together on advocacy in this area, including fighting legislation that could increase school construction costs.

MABE’s legislative positions state,

For MABE, key areas of concern include rising costs of construction, unmet demands for new construction and renovations to upgrade aging schools and increase capacity, and escalating costs of deferred maintenance. Other cost drivers include Maryland’s prevailing wage requirements and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. MABE supports optimizing local flexibility to achieve cost savings and efficiencies through alternative methods of project delivery, alternative financing, and cooperative purchasing.

MABE’s school construction resolution includes the following language,

  • . . .MABE urges a continued commitment by the Governor and General Assembly in future years to provide the state’s share of the funding needed to address the school facility needs identified by local school systems; and
  • . . .MABE supports maintaining the option for local school systems to use alternative methods of project delivery, and to procure school construction by methods other than competitive bidding, in order to optimize cost savings and efficiencies in procurement. . .

For more information, see the full list of MABE’s legislative positions and MABE’s Resolution of School Facility Funding.

For more information about MACo’s school construction initiative, see Q&A: Keeping Up With School Construction.

2017 Salary Survey of County Governments

The Salary Survey of Maryland County Governments for Fiscal Year 2017 is now available.
MACo’s annual report is now available.
The links below contain information on county employee salaries, health benefits, and pension plans for each of Maryland’s counties and Baltimore City. 

Additional questions about county government salaries and benefits may be directed to County Human Resources Officers.

Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Will Move to Charlotte

As reported by the Herald Mail, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education announced Tuesday that Washington County Superintendent Clayton Wilcox will become its next superintendent, effective July 1, 2017.

Clayton Wilcox will leave Washington County in the summer of 2017. Photo courtesy of the Herald Mail.

From the Herald Mail,

“I didn’t go looking for it. I know people find that hard to believe,” Wilcox said after sharing the news of his departure in closed session with the board.

He said a colleague told him about the job opening, thinking it would be a good fit.

With the uncertainty after November’s general election, Wilcox said he owed it to his family to take a look and “fell in love” with the Charlotte community.

“It was an incredibly hard decision,” one that he agonized over in recent days, Wilcox said, choking up during an interview with Herald-Mail Media.

Wilcox currently serves on Maryland’s 21st Century School Facilities Commission where he has advocated for alternative financing and new approaches to school construction, two elements of MACo’s agenda. He also gave MACo’s Board of Directors a tour of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Hagerstown this past spring.

For more information on Wilcox’s move, see Washington County Public Schools chief Wilcox named superintendent in Charlotte, from the Herald Mail.