Sun Editorial: Big School Funding Challenges, Counties Are “Tapped Out”

The Baltimore Sun editorial board lays out a comprehensive look at the current school funding dilemma -- advocates thirst for large new investments, but resources are strained already, even before the lofty goals from Kirwan Commission. With the Kirwan Commission report now in circulation, legislation pending, and onlookers still awaiting details... school funding remains a hot topic, albeit one temporarily on hold. Enter the Baltimore Sun, with a well-timed look at the political dynamics underlying…

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Education Funding Per Student Charts for 2019

The Department of Legislative Service's where-the-money-goes analysis of revenues per public school student is a calculation of perennial interest to Conduit Street readers. As compared with the 2018 ranking of total per pupil funding, several counties changed ranking position. Allegany and Dorchester counties switched spots, as did Charles and Garrett counties. Calvert, Wicomico, and Caroline swapped places, as did Anne Arundel and St. Mary's. Talbot jumped from last place to 21st, and Frederick and Harford…

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Montgomery Libraries to Offer Free Streaming Service

Montgomery County Public Libraries’ (MCPL) cardholders now have unlimited access to a world of knowledge via streaming video on RBdigital’s The Great Courses Library Collection. According to a press release: The Great Courses collection offers unlimited access to top university professors and experts from Ivy League and other renowned schools and institutions. With hundreds of videos on subjects ranging from photography to physics, astronomy to art, history to health, there is something to spark everyone’s…

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Kirwan Commission Releases Report
Portrait of University System of Maryland Chancellor William (Brit) Kirwan at the Wilson H. Elkins Building.
Kirwan Commission Releases Report

Kirwan Commission Releases Formal Report, Much-Awaited Legislation Still Pending The Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, Chaired by former University of Maryland Chancellor William "Brit" Kirwan, has released its interim report, wrapping months of work throughout 2018 and into 2019. Read the full report online. The report itself mostly formalizes and formats elements that have already been distributed - see previous Conduit Street coverage. Section-by-section shortcuts: Call to Action Background on Commission’s Work Summary of…

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Senate Votes to Overturn Post-Labor Day School Start Rule

The Maryland State Senate just voted to overturn Governor Hogan's 2016 executive order requiring districts to complete the mandated 180-day school year by June 15 but start classes after Labor Day. The final vote was 31-13. The legislation, which would restore the authority of local school boards to determine their own start and end dates for school years, will now be considered by the House of Delegates. https://twitter.com/pwoodreporter/status/1095357689834680325  

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Counties Seek Option for Publicly-Financed School Board Elections

MACo’s Associate Director, Kevin Kinnally, testified in support for HB 147, Election Law - Local Public Campaign Financing - Boards of Education, February 5, 2019. This bill allows counties to provide public campaign financing to candidates seeking to serve as an elected member of the county board of education. From the MACo testimony: This legislation properly leaves the decision for establishing a system of public campaign financing in the hands of the local governments, who are best…

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Conduit Street Podcast: Session Shakeup, School-Year Suspense, and More!

MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast. You can listen to previous episodes of the Conduit Street Podcast on our website.

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Federal Funds Available to Serve Summer Meals to Children and Teens

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is seeking public and private nonprofit organizations to serve free, nutritious meals to children and teens this summer through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program. According to MSDE: Over 392,000—more than 43 percent—of Maryland children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals and may not have access to safe and nutritious food during the summer when schools are closed. The…

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Multiple School-Year Tweaks Introduced; Fate Unclear

Several bills proposing changes to Governor Hogan's post-Labor Day school year are pending, with uncertain propsects Multiple bills have been introduced in this year's General Assembly session proposing one or more changes to the current school year parameters established by Executive Order under Governor Hogan. Under current law and its interpretation, school systems must adopt a school year beginning after labor day, and ending by June 15. See Conduit Street's September 2016 coverage of the…

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A Little Revolving Loan Fund Help from My Friends

The Governor's proposed budget includes $20 million this year, and more in future years for a revolving loan fund for county governments trying to 'get by' in tight fiscal years without stalling school construction projects.  Last year the 21st Century School Facilities Act implemented a recommendation of the 21st Century School Facilities Commission (often called the Knott Commission) to create a revolving loan fund to help counties unable to make the required match for school…

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