Sidebar: Massachusetts takes lighter approach to video toll fines

In Massachusetts, ff the first invoice isn’t paid within 30 days, a $1 fee is assessed for each violation. After another 30 days, another $1 fee applies. Invoices more than 90 days overdue incur $1 per violation and a $20 RMV/DMV fee, and the vehicle registration is flagged for non-renewal.

Accountability must be key element in increased money for schools

As battle lines harden over how much reform of public schools in Maryland will cost and who will pay for it, the argument has become just about money, and not the scores of moving parts in a comprehensive proposal that would drastically change education here. Lost in arguing about the billions more the changes will cost state and local taxpayers is the key fifth part of the recommendations from the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (p.122). It spells out in detail how a new super oversight board will hold the school systems accountable for how the money is spent.

Maryland roads score high on quality and spending

Maryland nearly made the Top 10 of Best Roads in the country in rankings for a consumer website. Maryland came in at 38, in reverse scoring chart where number 1 was worst and number 50 was best. Maryland scored better than any of its neighbors, while also outspending them per mile of road, according to ConsumerAffairs.com, a web-based consumer news and resource center.

Eastern Shore controversy spotlights chicken plant slurry

Residents of rural Wicomico County are upset about the construction of a 3-million-gallon tank of chicken “residuals” leftover from the processing of poultry which is spread on farmland. The 23-foot-tall tank will contain an oily slurry culled from the wastewater generated by two poultry industry facilities in a neighboring county. One homeowner fears the odor will drive her indoors, attract hordes of flies and cause the value of nearby properties, including hers, to plummet.

Md. Inspector General for education: A junkyard dog that can’t bite

In Maryland, compromise provisions of the law “The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future” establishing (among other things) an independent Inspector General (IG) for Education, have created a weak auditing office—a tired, toothless canine. The new IG will be statutorily much weaker than his or her counterparts within the U.S. GAO, federal IG offices, Maryland’s Office of Legislative Audits (OLA), and IGs in the state’s executive-branch agencies. 

Opinion: Bootleggers, Baptists, and Howard’s school redistricting

The prevailing media narrative surrounding redistricting is a Manichean frame pitting social justice advocates fighting for equity (however ill-defined they use the term) against wealthy parents who do not want their children moved out of their community schools.  However, there is another framework at play, one that explains the real coalitions and motivations at play: Bootleggers and Baptists, a theory developed by a Clemson University economist.

Analysis: Moving students around in Howard County is not enough to achieve equity

Children from lower-income families are concentrated in Columbia’s older neighborhoods and the Route 1 corridor because that’s where their parents can afford to live. Achieving equity in education for these students requires the additional resources laid out by the Kirwan Commision on Innovation and Excellence in Education. Simply moving them to higher performing schools, as the superintendent has proposed, is not enough.