ACY will continue to monitor legislation related to school funding this legislative session. We will push adequate and equitable funding and will actively oppose legislation that would cut funds to public schools or use public money to fund non-public schools. We will support initiatives that promote innovative and expanded learning opportunities and expanded support and resources that will benefit Maryland students, including expanding prekindergarten and adult education opportunities. We anticipate much more funding legislation during the 2018 General Assembly resulting from the work of the Kirwan Commission, but will be carefully watching for any preliminary measures this session. This session we are watching the following bills:
HB516/ SB581 – Workgroup to Study the Implementation of Universal Access to Prekindergarten for 4-Year-Olds – PASSED!
ACY supported HB516/SB581, which establishes a workgroup to study the implementation of universal prekindergarten for four year olds. The recently completed Study of Adequacy of Funding for Education included recommendations regarding the implementation of universal prekindergarten in Maryland. The consultants from the Study recommended that Maryland offer universal prekindergarten for 4 year-olds, while ensuring that the prekindergarten programs available are high quality. The workgroup created by HB516/SB581 will provide information for the Kirwan Commission to use to in making its recommendations later this year. The workgroup is an opportunity to look deeper into specific aspects of implementation and evaluate logistics in more detail to ensure that the Kirwan Commission has a strong basis from which to form its recommendations.
February 14th – A hearing was held in the House Ways and Means Committee. ACY’s Education Policy Associate, Beth Doory, testified alongside the bill’s sponsor, Delegate Atterbeary, in favor of the bill.
February 23rd – The Ways and Means Committee voted the bill out of committee with amendments.
February 28th – The House passed the bill by a vote of 102-36.
March 6th – Bill was passed by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and sent to the Senate Floor.
March 9th– The full Senate passed the bill, 41-6.
March 10th – The bill returned PASSED to the House of Delegates!
March 1st – A hearing was held in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.
March 6th – The Senate Committee passed the bill with amendments.
March 9th – The bill was passed on the Senate floor, by the same vote as its House crossfile, 41-6. It is scheduled for a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee on March 21st.
SB346 – Education – Prekindergarten Students – Funding
ACY supports SB346 because it provides increased funding for prekindergarten programs, which are essential for kindergarten-readiness and lifelong educational and social successes. The legislation establishes supplemental prekindergarten grants, beginning in fiscal 2019, to local boards of education based on the number of economically disadvantaged four-year-old children enrolled in half-day prekindergarten (multiplied by 0.5) and in full-day prekindergarten on September 30 of the prior school year. Beginning in fiscal 2019, eligible prekindergarten students enrolled on September 30 of the previous school year are included in the enrollment count used to determine the local share of the foundation program. The calculations for funding in this legislation will ensure that counties have funding they need to make these essential, high quality programs available to more children in their communities.
February 22nd – A hearing was held in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.
April 10th- This bill never got out of Committee, but we are hopeful that the goals of the legislation will be addressed by the Kirwan Commission.
SB557 – Education – Maryland Education Opportunity Account Program – Established
ACY opposes this bill because it allows public funds to support private schools in the State, when our public schools need funding. This bill would establish the Maryland Education Opportunity Account Program and an Authority charged with developing and managing the program. It requires that the Governor include a grant to the Authority in the annual State budget in an amount equal to the product of the per pupil foundation amount multiplied by the number of program accounts. The first priority of the State should be to ensure our children have the adequate public education that they are constitutionally guaranteed by reviewing and implementing changes to the State funding formula and only once adequacy and equity is reached in all of Maryland’s school systems, look for ways to reach out to nonpublic schools.
February 23rd – A hearing was held in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.
April 10th– No further action was taken.
HB696/SB849 – Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Schools – Discrimination – Prohibition
ACY supports HB696 because it combats discrimination in schools that compromises the integrity of equal access to education and the best interests of children throughout the State. The bill promotes equal opportunity by prohibiting nonpublic schools that receive State funds from discriminating against any student or prospective student on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
February 28th – A hearing was held on the Senate Bill and the House bill in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, respectively.
April 10th– Unfortunately, this important legislation did not move out of either committee this year.
HB878/SB704- Public Charter School Act of 2017
ACY opposed this legislation because we had serious concerned about its implications on public school funding. The creation of the Maryland Public Charter School Authority (Authority) is concerning on many fronts; particularly troubling is the allocation of public funds to schools that are still considered public, but that can be exempted from any policy or requirement that would be imposed upon a traditional public school in a particular jurisdiction, at the discretion of the seven-member Authority. Moreover, the State and county boards of education will have little, if any, authority over the charter schools under this legislation, and yet a portion of a county’s education budget will be diverted and paid directly to the charter school, based on the total enrollment of that charter school. While public charter schools can be an important option for families, they must continue to be governed under the same laws and obligations as traditional public schools in order to remain “public schools.” Without those obligations for accountability and governance by their county board, they are essentially private schools. ACY remains committed to ensuring that public funds be used for public schools.
February 28th – A hearing was held in the House Ways and Means Committee.
March 2nd – The bill received and UNFAVORABLE report in the House Ways and Means Committee.
March 6th – The hearing on the Senate bill was cancelled, in light of the Unfavorable report of it’s crossfile in the House.
HB1381/SB866 – Adult High School Pilot Program – PASSED!
ACY supports HB1381/SB866 because it will address the educational and technical training needs of older youth who have not received high school diplomas, while accounting for their unique needs with wraparound services and additional resources. Through the programs contemplated by this legislation, young people can complete their high school educations and broaden career opportunities so that they may contribute meaningfully to their families and communities. The legislation authorizes the creation of six pilot programs across the state and is an important step in providing more opportunity for young people to reach their full potential.
March 7th – A hearing was held on the bill in the House Economic Matters Committee. The House bill is jointly assigned to the Economic Matters Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.
March 17th – The bill passed, 140-0, in the House of Delegates, after receiving unanimous votes in the House Ways and Means and Economic Matters Committees. The bill will be sent to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.
April 10th- The House bill passed on the final day of session, following the lead of its Senate companion bill. We are excited for the opportunities this will open up for youth and young adults around the State!
March 1st – There was a hearing on the bill in the House Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.
March 17th – The Senate bill passed 47-0 on the Senate Floor and will be sent to the House Committees for a review.
April 2nd– The bill has passed both Houses!