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By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | March 30, 2012
Baltimore schools chief Andrés Alonso's ambitious plan to leverage state dollars to finance $1.2 billion in school renovation and construction will not move forward in the General Assembly this year. Instead of passing a bill that would jump-start such a program, the legislature will order a study of school construction financing between now and the 2013 Assembly session. The House Appropriations Committee voted Friday to adopt language in the Senate capital budget bill spelling out the goals and parameters of the study.
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March 29, 2012
I am impressed and somewhat alarmed at the media blitz financed by the MSEA and the HCEA promoting their candidates for the Howard County Board of Education. Given that it is the Board of Education who negotiates our teachers, salary, benefits and pensions (that will soon be correctly our obligation, not the state's, to fund), am I the only one who sees a fox guarding the henhouse issue here? Given the next board may be making some very tough choices requiring that school funding be reduced so as to fund the obligations to the pension fund, I would prefer members with no particular allegiance.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | March 23, 2012
The General Assembly has approved a tough new law that will require Maryland's counties and Baltimore to keep up a minimum level of education spending or risk having the state withhold part of their annual tax collections and ship the money directly to local school boards. The House of Delegates voted 93-44 on Friday to give final approval to the bill, sending it to Gov. Martin O'Malley, who said he will sign it. The Senate passed the bill last week. "While the state was investing more and more, the counties were investing less and less," O'Malley said Friday.
NEWS
By Louis R. Cestello, Ronald J. Daniels and Thomas E. Wilcox | March 19, 2012
Baltimore has the potential to again be the state's greatest economic engine. Investments in education, in particular, have the power to convert a tsunami of need into a rising tide of productivity. And the Maryland General Assembly has the opportunity to leverage newly proposed legislative options to steer the course to a more prosperous future. House and Senate committees recently heard arguments for an innovative bond financing mechanism to jump-start much-needed repairs and upgrades in city schools.
NEWS
February 29, 2012
Maryland's constitution mandates that every student have access to an adequate (indeed, "thorough" is how it's described) education. Court cases have backed this up, and the state legislature's response was the Bridge to Excellence in Education Act, more commonly known as the "Thornton" funding that ensured even the state's poorest jurisdictions had enough money for K-12 schools. Crucial to this transfer of tax dollars from the state to local school systems was the assurance that Baltimore and the 23 counties would maintain their share of that financial responsibility, too. Otherwise, the $1.3 billion in Thornton assistance would not provide a boost to schools but merely give local governments an opportunity to slack.
NEWS
By Joe Burris, The Baltimore Sun | February 1, 2012
The state Board of Education is fielding public comment on its contention that the Anne Arundel County government did not meet a state-mandated education funding requirement, it announced Wednesday. The state board's move comes about two months after interim state schools Superintendent Bernard Sadusky sent a letter to Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold stating that the county was not in compliance with its fiscal year 2012 funding requirement. State law requires that local governments maintain at a minimum the same per-pupil funding as the previous year.
NEWS
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun | January 31, 2012
State education leaders have offered legislators their recommendations for fixing the state law that requires local governments to fund their public schools at a minimum level. The state's superintendents, teachers union and local school boards released a plan Tuesday that would tighten a law meant to require that counties fund their schools at the minimum per pupil amount that they did the year before. The law was weakened last legislative session, they say, and must be fixed. They want to ensure that governments do not decrease the money they spend on schools.
NEWS
January 29, 2012
The proposal to rapidly overhaul Baltimore's aging school facilities that district CEO Andrés Alonso presented to a state Senate committee last week represents one of the most important and innovative ideas the city has offered in recent years to break out of its cycle of poverty and disinvestment. Baltimore cannot flourish without high-quality public schools, and although students have made impressive gains in recent years, the city will not be able to attract and retain families if children are trying to learn in dilapidated facilities.
NEWS
January 25, 2012
It is more than unfortunate that Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold continues to imply that funding our school system is like throwing money into a bottomless abyss with absolutely no return on investment ("School funding mandate hurts counties," Jan. 19). There are certainly flaws with the state's maintenance of effort law, but the bigger problem in our county is Mr. Leopold's ongoing disparaging comments and his desire to control our school system in a dictatorial fashion.
NEWS
January 17, 2012
When it was announced recently that Maryland public schools were rated top in the nation for the fourth straight year by Education Week magazine, the state's interim schools superintendent was quick to give credit where it's due - to the taxpayer dollars spent on education. "School finance," observed Bernard J. Sadusky, "has been an anchor for us. " It has been a decade now since the Maryland General Assembly approved the Thornton commission's recommendation to boost state spending on public schools.
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