Biden’s Relief Plan Includes $350 Billion In Critical Aid for State and Local Govts

President-elect Joe Biden yesterday unveiled the details of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue package that aims to speed up the vaccine rollout and keep the economy afloat amid the deepening COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal — entitled the American Rescue Plan — includes direct payments of $1,400 stimulus checks to qualifying Americans (bringing the total relief to $2,000), $350 billion in direct aid to state and local governments, an increase in and extension of federal unemployment…

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Frederick School Budget Seeks $26M Increase, Requesting $6.5M for Academic Recovery

Frederick County School Superintendent Terry Alban on Monday announced her Fiscal Year 2022 recommended budget, which totals more than $701 million. The FY 22 request tops last year's by $26 million. Last year's approved operating budget for Frederick County Public School System totaled $674 million. From the Frederick News-Post: “The FY22 budget was built to move our system forward. It was designed to enable us to recover, reconnect and reinvent. Recovery is the first step…

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Montgomery Leverages CARES Funds to Offer Outdoor WiFi at Public Libraries

Montgomery County has leveraged federal COVID-19 funding to install outdoor public WiFi at several Public Library (MCPL) branches. This free service is available 24 hours a day in parking lots adjacent to the library buildings. As leaders in the fight against COVID-19, counties are expending federal relief funds to address immediate health, equity, and safety concerns, as well as to promote economic resiliency and recovery. From small business support grant programs to rental and mortgage…

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Sun Previews Session “Major Issues”

The Baltimore Sun released a preview of major issues facing the General Assembly for the 2021 Session, including police reforms, education, sports wagering. With the 2021 reconvening of the Maryland General Assembly afoot, Maryland's top newspaper covers a range of issues expected to gather attention and ink in the weeks ahead. Unsurprisingly, police reforms are on that list, as many states have responded to calls for social justice in policing tactics and accountability. The legislature…

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Anne Arundel Grants $150,000 to Bring Internet Service to Low-Income Students

County Executive Steuart Pittman yesterday announced the County has allocated $150,000 of funding to provide internet service to low-income families and students through Comcast's Internet Essentials Partnership Program (IEPP). The grant, allocated as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will provide high-speed internet access to low-income families who qualify for Internet Essentials from Comcast. Anne Arundel County will cover the monthly recurring cost of Internet Essentials service charges for…

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Record Enrollment Declines for Community Colleges
mohamed_hassan (CC0), Pixabay
Record Enrollment Declines for Community Colleges

According to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse, enrollment at community colleges has decreased by more than 10% since last year - a decline of nearly 545,000 students. Among all public colleges and universities in the county, enrollment dropped by 3.6%, largely driven by the decline at two-year institutions. The Center for Community College Student Engagement published information on the demographic characteristics of traditionally community college students, which President and CEO of Achieving the…

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Olszewski Announces Key Administration Appointments

This week, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski named several new directors in his administration. Olszewski nominated Pete Gutwald to serve as Director of the Department of Permits, Approvals, and Inspections, Steve Lafferty to serve as Director of the Department of Planning, and Jennifer M. Lynch, PhD. as Baltimore County’s Director of Educational Partnership. All three have a wealth of public service experience in Baltimore County. According to a County press release: “As we begin our…

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NACo Announces Counties for Kids Campaign

The National Association of Counties (NACo) this month will launch Counties for Kids, a public awareness campaign for county leaders who are committed to making investments in young children from prenatal to age three. Through the initiative, counties have access to free resources, tools, and events on strategies for investing in the needs of young children. https://youtu.be/L-zFZJadWdg According to NACo: We encourage all county leaders to join the network of champions advancing PN-3 policies, programs…

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Top Issues of 2021 Session: Broadband Connectivity for Public Schools

With the 2021 Legislative Session rapidly approaching, MACo is profiling some major issues that stand to gather attention in the General Assembly’s work. Here, we preview broadband connectivity for Maryland public schools. Although each public school building in Maryland has Internet access and computers for student use, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a sudden shift to remote learning and the lack of affordable, reliable internet access will undoubtedly be a hot topic in the upcoming legislative…

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Top Issues of 2021 Session: Blueprint for Maryland’s Future

With the 2021 Legislative Session rapidly approaching, MACo is profiling some major issues that stand to gather attention in the General Assembly’s work. Here, we preview the Blueprint for Maryland's Future and what happens if the Governor's veto is overridden. After more than three years of study and consideration, the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education adopted its final recommendations in late 2019, establishing the base policy and funding formulas that passed the General…

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