Thanks to advocates and supporters like you, improving educational outcomes for Maryland children was one of legislators’ biggest tasks this year. Read on to find out what bills the General Assembly passed on behalf of kids and schools in 2017.
The good news:
- State Grants for Education Aid (HB 684) — This school funding bill gives $28.2 million in additional funding to Baltimore City schools, so long as that funding is distributed equally among traditional public schools, charter public schools and the 10 other Maryland jurisdictions facing declining enrollment. Thanks to Governor Hogan’s negotiation, it also increases per-pupil funding for schools across the state.
And then the bad:
- The Public Charter School Act of 2017 (SB 704) — This bill would have created an independent public charter school authorizer and allowed new high quality public school options in Maryland. But, even with our best effort, this bill never made it to the full House floor. Despite evidence of notable charter school success stories, such as the Baltimore Leadership School for Women, whose graduating class had 100 percent college acceptance, without this new law, Maryland will continue to have one of the most rigid charter school laws in the country.
- The Protect Our Schools Act (HB 978) — This act sets new standards for identifying Maryland’s low-performing schools and makes it much harder for the state board to step in and support them when needed. What’s more, it puts Maryland at risk of losing nearly $250 million in federal aid for our poorest schools.
Governor Hogan vetoed The Protect our Schools Act in the final days of session, but the General Assembly overrode his veto. Now it will be much harder for parents to really know how schools are doing and for students trapped in failing schools to succeed.
We weren’t able to stop the override, but thanks to your support, we were able to make sure the state board can still turn around low performing schools. It’s a small victory, but it’s one that lets us learn much more about how to choose the schools that need support and and help them do better.
Thank you for lifting your voice for kids with us this year. With your ongoing support, MarylandCAN will continue pushing the lever as we move forward.
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