Strengthening Maryland Public Schools
- Funding: The legislature provided $6.4 billion to fund our public K-12 system and provided additional funding to help Baltimore City Public Schools solve their existing deficit. The legislature also budgeted $280 million of school construction funding, plus an additional $60 million in school construction funding for school systems with increasing enrollment and a high number of relocatable classrooms. The legislature also capped tuition at public colleges and universities at 2.0% for this upcoming school year.
- Protect Our Schools: The General Assembly passed and overrode Governor Hogan’s veto of the Protect Our Schools Act. This bill (House Bill 978) establishes parameters about how to implement the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act, while giving the State Board of Education discretion on the implementation of the details. The bill prohibits the State Board from making test results count for 100% of the assessment of school progress. It also blocks the privatization of our public schools, by preventing the transfer of operations to private and for-profit interests who look out for their bottom lines first and our kids second.
- Capping Public School Testing: The Less Testing, More Learning bill requires the State Board of Education to limit the amount of time for Federal, State and local assessments for each grade to 2.0% of instructional hours, in order to give students the opportunity to learn in new and innovative ways. The bill also requires each school district to set up a committee to monitor the jurisdiction’s assessment programs. The goal is to move away from teaching to the test and move toward using assessments as a true measure of what students learn.
- Expanding School Breakfast: The House passed the Maryland Cares for Kids Act that benefits over 45,000 students by expanding the existing school breakfast program for low income families to students in middle and high schools. The program authorizes schools that have 40% or more low income students to provide free meals, by accessing federal funds through the National School Lunch program.