Home > Policies > Education Policy > 2016 Legislation to Watch: Education

HB668/SB584 – Preschool Development Grants – Expansion Grants – Required State Funding

In 2014, Maryland was awarded a federal Preschool Development Grant, equal to $15 million per year over four years, which would expand access to prekindergarten for four year olds from low-income families. This bill requires the Governor, in each fiscal year in which the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) receives an expansion grant through the federal Preschool Development Grant Program, to include an appropriation of State funds equal to the amount that the State committed in its application to the U.S. Department of Education, and in addition to the appropriation required under current law for the State Prekindergarten Expansion Grant Program.  A hearing in House Appropriations Committee was held on February 23, 2016 and the Senate hearing in the Budget and Taxation Committee is scheduled for March 2, 2016. See Advocates for Children and Youth’s written testimony is support of this bill here.

– April 7, 2016: Both bills, HB668 and SB584, passed!

HB1433/SB461 – Education – Prekindergarten Students – Funding

These bills would adjust the definition of full-time equivalent enrollment to include prekindergarten students in the number of students enrolled for the purpose of determining state education aid under the funding formula.  It would count children eligible for publicly funded prekindergarten, as defined in Education § 7-101.1 of the Education Article, the same as any other student in grades K-12. For full day programs the number of children is multiplied by 1.00 and for half day programs the number of children is multiplied by 0.5.   We support these efforts to counties have necessary funding adequately and equitably provide quality early education services.  The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee held its hearing on February 24, 2016 and the House Ways and Means Committee will take up the matter on March 7, 2016.  See Advocates for Children and Youth’s written testimony here.

– April 11, 2016: Session ended without a vote on this legislation.

HB329/SB312- Children – Family Child Care Homes and Child Care Centers – Advertising and Penalties

These bills would prohibit advertising by unlicensed child care providers, increase penalties for those providing care illegally, and incorporate law enforcement in the process of ensuring compliance.  The bill does not expand the types of child care that are illegal, nor does it affect informal child care arrangements, such as those with a family member or friend.  Instead, this bill strengthens existing law to ensure that children will be safe with the child care provider that their parents entrust with their well-being.   See Advocates for Children and Youth’s written testimony in support of these bills here.

– February 18, 2016: SB312 was passed in the Senate, by a vote of 47-0.  The bill now moves to the House Health and Government Operations Committee for a hearing on March 24, 2016.  The House heard HB329 on February 11th but has not yet voted on the matter.

– April 7, 2016:  Both bills, HB329 and SB312, passed with amendments agreed upon by both chambers.

HB1095/SB369 – Education – Prekindergarten Programs – Notification of Eligibility by Local Departments of Social Services

These bills require local Social Service Departments to advise the guardian of a four year old, already in the process of applying for other Social Service benefits, that the child may be eligible for publicly-funded prekindergarten. It requires that the notification be made orally and in writing.  The hearing on SB369 was held on February 11, 2016 in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.  The House is scheduled to hear HB 1095 on March 7, 2016 in the Ways and Means Committee.  See Advocates for Children and Youth’s written testimony in support of these bills here.

– March 3, 2016SB369 passed the Senate with amendments.  It is now scheduled to be heard in the House Ways and Means Committee on March 24, 2016.

– March 14, 2016: The House bill, HB1095, received a Favorable with Amendments report from the Ways and Means Committee.  It will be sent to the House floor for a vote next.

– April 7, 2016:  Both bills, HB1095 and SB369, passed with amendments agreed upon by both chambers.

HB1139 Education – Maryland Community School Strategy for Excellence in Public Education Act

This bill sets up the guidelines for the formation of community schools within existing schools across the State.  These schools would use the community school strategy that has “an integrated focus on academics, health, and social services, youth and community development and community engagement in order to improve student learning, positive school climate, strong ties to the family, and community partnership.”   Increasing the number of community is intended to address the disparate and inadequate resources and the impact of concentrated poverty on public schools.  The bill lays out the process for schools to adopt the community school model and ensures funding for these schools. Advocates for Children and Youth supports these efforts to establish more community schools that can break through the barriers to learning and set children up for success.

– March 10, 2016: The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the bill.  Advocates for Children and Youth submitted written testimony in support of this legislation. To read testimony, click here.

– April 6, 2016: After substantial amendments were made the the legislation, HB1139 passed the House of Delegates under a new title “Education – Community School Strategy – Required Notice and Support.” The new version of the bill is much more limited than the original; however, it will raise awareness about community schools and is a step in the right direction.  The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration.

– April 11, 2016:  HB1139 passed!

HB1402/SB1125 – Education – Maryland Extended Day and Summer Enhancement Programs Act

This bill is intended to make sure of school buildings during non-school hours.  It seeks to create extended day and summer enhancement programs and creates a grant program that will assist local education agencies and nonprofit organizations in expanding or creating these programs.  The bill also requires that the grant program to contain policies that will establish partnerships with local parks and recreation departments, recreation councils, local public schools, public libraries, institutions of higher education, private sector businesses, and other nonprofits. To qualify for a grant, the programs must be in a county in which at least 50% of public school students as a percentage of full-time equivalent students qualify for a free lunch under the National School Lunch Program, and the Department is instructed to select grant proposals that among other things “best incorporate features that will have a positive measurable impact on the conditions of well-being for children and youth as identified by the Maryland Out-of-School-Time Program’s Quality Standard Framework,” that “assist students in meeting academic requirements on grade level,” and for summer enhancement programs, “provide learning and enrichment activities,” and “expose students to future learning and life opportunities.” Advocates for Children and Youth supports this legislation and its intent to make school buildings available for continuous learning opportunities, not just during regular school hours.

– February 25, 2016:  The Senate crossfile bill, SB1125, has been filed and referred to the Budget and Taxation Committee. It is scheduled for a hearing on March 17, 2016. To read Advocates for Children and Youth’s testimony, click here.

– March 10, 2016: The hearing on this bill was heard in the House Ways and Means Committee. Advocates for Children and Youth submitted written testimony in support of this legislation.

– March 31, 2016: HB1402 passed  both chambers and has been enacted under a new title “Public School Opportunities Enhancement Act.”  

HB1406/SB1173- Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation – Adult Education – Adult High Schools

This legislation was filed in an effort for provide more educational opportunities for young adults who are no longer enrolled in traditional public schools. Advocates for Children and Youth supports this legislation with amendments because it offers a vehicle to reengage youth and young adults who have become disconnected from their education and their communities by providing the educational and technical training needs they need to broaden their career opportunities so that they may contribute meaningfully to their families and communities.

– March 7, 2016: A hearing on this legislation was heard in the House Economic Matters Committee. Rais Akbar, the Youth Justice Policy Director for Advocates for Children and Youth, delivered oral testimony before the Committee, and we submitted written testimony  as well.  To read testimony, click here.

– March 29, 2016: Hearing were held in the Senate Finance Committee on HB1406 and its late filed Senate crossfile, SB1173.  HB1406 was amended in the House striking the original language and creating a Task Force.  Advocates for Children and Youth was present at the hearing to again provide oral and written testimony in support of this legislation now entitled “Task Force to Study the Adult High School Concept. 

– March 31, 2016: HB1406 passed!