House & Senate Budget Chairs: It’s Time to Fully Fund Community Colleges

The Maryland Senate last week unanimously passed SB 538 - Community Colleges and Private Nonprofit Institutions of Higher Education - Funding, with amendments to fully fund the State's share of the Cade funding formula. State funding of Maryland’s community colleges is based on the Senator John R. Cade funding formula, which was established as law in 1996. The Cade funding aims to provide community colleges with predictable support for operations and to help maintain affordable…

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Baltimore City Announces Chief Data Officer, Broadband and Digital Equity Director

Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott today announced two appointments for Chief Data Office and the City's first Director of Broadband and Digital Equity. Mayor Scott announced Justin Elszasz, currently the Deputy Director and Analytics Lead for the Mayor’s Office of Performance & Innovation, will serve as the administration’s Chief Data Officer. Jason Hardebeck has been appointed as the City’s first Director of Broadband and Digital Equity. Elszasz and Hardebeck officially assume their roles in the…

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MACo Broadband Initiative Bill on the Move

In a unanimous vote, the Senate Finance Committee today voted to advance a MACo Legislative Initiative bill that will help to close Maryland’s persistent digital divide. SB 824 - Economic Development – Broadband Providers – Joint Trenching and Fee (Building Out Broadband Act of 2021) is a 2021 MACo Legislative Initiative that would help close the digital divide by enhancing incentives and orchestrating opportunities for broadband deployment across the state. Weaknesses in current broadband internet…

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Maryland Board of Public Works – March 24, 2021 Agenda

Maryland’s Board of Public Works (BPW) reviews projects, contracts, and expenditure plans for state agencies – many of which have an effect on county governments. The BPW is composed of Governor Larry Hogan, Treasurer Nancy Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot. It meets on alternating Wednesdays and the meetings are open to the public. The meeting will be held in Governor’s Reception Room on the 2nd floor of the State House in Annapolis. Note: In light of the COVID-19 epidemic,…

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March 11: School Reopening Plans by County

As the 2020-21 school year continues, local Maryland school systems are actively revising reopening plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Conduit Street has the latest. Update: August 23, 2021: Please click here for an interactive map detailing each local school board's policy on masks and/or vaccines. Governor Hogan recently called for schools to return to in-person learning by March 1, requiring local school systems to send the Maryland State Department of Education the information on…

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Baltimore County Library to Eliminate Loan Fees for Youth Accounts

Effective March 8, Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) will no longer charge extended loan fees for accounts belonging to cardholders under 18 years old. BCPL announced that all fines and fees on more than 13,000 youth accounts are in the process of being cleared and reinstating blocked accounts. While a complete fine-free model is being considered, extended loan fees do remain in place for adults at this time. For youth accounts, this changes aligns with…

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State Board of Education to Delay Standardized Tests Until Fall

The Maryland State Board of Education reconsidered their previous vote to move forward standardized testing in spring and made the decision to delay administering testing until fall. The United States Department of Education announced last week that all states are required to administer annual standardized testing, but offered flexibility in how to administer the exams. Also last week, the Maryland State Board of Education voted to administer the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) to all…

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Apply Today for 2021 NACo Achievement Awards

It’s time to showcase your county’s most innovative efforts! Apply for a 2021 NACo Achievement Award (deadline extended to April 14!). A non-competitive program, the NACo Achievement Awards recognizes outstanding county government programs and services in 18 categories, covering a vast range of county responsibilities. Only county governments and state associations of counties are eligible to submit applications. There is no limit to the number of applications that can be submitted by a single entity.…

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MACo to State: Help Close the Digital Divide, Dig Once is Common Sense

On March 4, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin testified before the House Economic Matters Committee to support HB 1328 -  Economic Development - Broadband Providers - Joint Trenching and Fee (Building Out Broadband Act of 2021). This bill is a MACo initiative, helping to close the digital divide in Maryland by enhancing incentives and creating opportunities to build out broadband across the State. From the MACo Testimony: This bill would help to close Maryland’s persistent…

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MACo to State: Create a COVID-19 Slide Education Initiative

Montgomery County Council Member Craig Rice and Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Jack Wilson, MACo’s Education Subcommittee Chair and Vice Chair, last week sent a letter to Governor Hogan, House Speaker Adrienne Jones, and Senate President Bill Ferguson requesting the State create a COVID-19 Slide Education Initiative in order for local education agencies to address academic struggles due to the pandemic. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and closures of in-person learning opportunities, many Maryland children have…

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