In February 2021, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future – designed to transform public education and establish equity for Maryland’s children – became state law. Lawmakers moved swiftly to introduce companion legislation to adjust critical timelines for the law’s implementation and to ensure that funds were allocated in the areas of greatest need.
The legislation also addressed disparities that the pandemic either highlighted or exacerbated such as learning loss; the digital divide (i.e., lack of internet connectivity and access to devices); and social emotional, behavioral and mental well-being.
More than $1.2B in state funds are allocated for implementation of the Blueprint over the next two fiscal years (FY21 and FY22), which will begin to address decades of underinvestment in public education. To ensure a safe return to in-person learning and to address the impact of COVID-19, the federal government will invest $1.95B in public education with its third round of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds bringing the total Maryland investment to $3.3B.
Adequately investing in more than 900,000 Maryland students to close disparities and advance equity, is no longer a dream but a reality. The work now begins to transform an inequitably and inadequately-resourced public school education system into one that provides every student no matter their zip code or race with an opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Currently, there are three “buckets” that address different aspects of the education funding:
A. The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future
B. Federal Education Funding
C. Federal COVID-Related Funding
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future
HOW WILL WE KNOW THESE INVESTMENTS ARE WORKING?
- Maintenance of Effort ensures that states spend the same share of their budget before ESSER.
a. States must maintain spending on both K-12 and higher education in fiscal year 2022 and fiscal year 2023 at least at the proportional levels relative to a state’s overall spending, averaged over fiscal year 2018, fiscal year 2019 and fiscal year 2020.
2. NEW: Maintenance of Equity will prevent high poverty districts from losing more money than low poverty districts if states were to cut education funding.
– Per-pupil spending for “high need” LEAs cannot be cut
– States cannot fund “highest poverty”LEAs below their fiscal year 2019 funding
b. Local Education Agencies (LEAs) or School Districts :
– Per-pupil cannot be cut for any highpoverty school at a rate steeper than overall cuts across all schools served
– LEAs cannot reduce per-pupil staffing for any high-poverty school at a rate steeper than overall cuts across all schools served
– Provision not applicable if schools meet certain conditions