Governor’s Education Trust Fund Bill & School Safety Bill
The Governor announced on February 14 that he would introduce “The Commitment to Education Act of 2018” in order to: “increase education spending by more than $4.4 billion over the next decade by phasing in casino revenues from the Education Trust Fund over the next four years. The legislation also dedicates the first 20 percent of these revenues to school construction starting immediately, which will add an additional $1 billion over the decade.”
The Governor announced on February 28 that he would be introducing emergency legislation to provide $125 Million for school safety enhancements, plus $50 million in annual grants. In addition, the legislation would create statewide standards for school safety planning.
On March 7, The Governor introduced these two major pieces of legislation: the Commitment to Education Act and the Safe Schools Act of 2018.
The Commitment to Education Act (HB 1815/SB 1258) is the Governor’s proposal to phase in the conversion of the $500M Education Trust Fund into supplemental funding for school system operating and capital costs.
- The legislation would begin to mandate shifts of Education Trust Fund revenues in FY 2020 to fund school safety capital cost grants ($125M), a safe schools fund to fund planning and programs ($50M), and direct aid to local school systems ($25M).
- In FY 2021, the additional direct aid number grows significantly ($150M), and in addition to the safe schools grants ($50M) the bill would start to provide PAYGO funding for school construction ($100M).
- By FY 2023, safe schools grants would remain at $50M, and PAYGO for school construction would remain at $100M, but direct aid to school systems would increase to $350M.
- Provide that the percentages of the Education Trust Fund which shall be used to supplement, not supplant, funding for programs and formulas established under the Education Article will increase from 40% in FY 2020 to 100% in FY 2023 and thereafter.
The Safe Schools Act (HB 1816/SB 1257) would establish the Safe Schools Fund, which would provide grants to local boards for the implementation of approved emergency safety plans and other safety improvements. This is the operating cost grant fund designated to receive the $50M annually from the Commitment to Education Act. In addition, the Safe Schools Act would:
- Add members to the governing board of the Maryland Center for School Safety.
- Increase the mandated appropriation for the Center from $500K to $3M.
- Require each board to employ a designated security administrator, certified by the Safety Center, and responsible for ensuring the safety and security of students, faculty, staff, and visitors on school property and at school–sponsored events.
- Require school resource officers to be certified by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission using a curriculum developed by the Safety Center.
- Require local boards to prepare school emergency plans for review, comment, and suggested amendments by the Safety Center; and requiring State Board of Education approval, amendment, or rejection of the plans.
- Require the State Board to adopt regulations governing contents of school emergency plans and the process for safety assessments of schools.
- Require that threat assessment teams be formed to provide guidance to students, parents and staff and implement local board policies, in accordance with state regulations adopted by the State Board.
- Provide that local board records pertaining to school emergency plans and safety assessments are not subject to inspection under the Public Information Act.
In addition, the Governor announced that he was submitting a supplemental budget request to the legislature to provide $5 million to enhance safety in Maryland’s public schools to enable the Maryland Center for School Safety to hire analysts and social media trackers, allocate staff in more regions of the state, and assist schools with conducting the mandated safety assessments. The proposal includes $2.5 million in additional funding for the Center for School Safety, and $2.5 million for local school systems to conduct mandatory safety assessments.
Governor Hogan Announces Funding to Assist Baltimore City Schools and Major Legislative Initiatives
On January 8, 2018, Governor Larry Hogan held a press conference and issued a press release to announce that he will release $2.5 million for emergency repairs in Baltimore City Schools, and also announced that he will introduce two major education reform bills. One bill would rewrite the 2017 Protect Our Schools Act to, in part, increase the role of student test results in determining school performance (from 65% to 80%). A second bill, the Education Accountability Act, would create a state-level inspector general within the Maryland State Dept. of Education to take complaints on matters ranging from school facility conditions to school finance, procurement, and ethics.
The Protect Our Students Act
The Governor announced that he will submit emergency legislation on the first day of the upcoming session – the Protect Our Students Act of 2018 – which will require academic performance to be counted as 80 percent of a school’s composite score, aligning Maryland with the national average.
The Accountability in Education Act
The Governor announced that he will introduce the Accountability in Education Act of 2018 to create an Office of the State Education Investigator General, which will be an independent unit within the Maryland State Department of Education. The Investigator General will be selected by a commission consisting of appointees by the Senate President, Speaker of the House, and the governor, and will be charged with investigating complaints of unethical, unprofessional, or illegal conduct relating to procurement, education assets, graduation requirements, grading, education facilities, and school budgets.
More information will follow, as MABE learns more about the specific details of these Hogan Administration initiatives.
Link to article: Baltimore Sun
Link to Facebook live stream: Governor Larry Hogan Facebook
Link to Twitter live stream: Governor Larry Hogan Twitter
Governor’s Press Release (1/8/2018)