State Roundup: Audit finds $24M misallocated for ‘ghost’ students; Baltimore launches guaranteed income pilot program

State Roundup: Audit finds $24M misallocated for ‘ghost’ students; Baltimore launches guaranteed income pilot program

An audit by the Maryland Inspector General has found the program of 'ghost' students is statewide. Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

AUDIT FINDS $24M MISALLOCATED FOR ‘GHOST’ STUDENTS: Maryland’s Inspector General for Education has found that $24 million in tax dollars was misallocated and sent to educate about 3,000 students statewide who are not in school. This audit follows a March 2021 Project Baltimore investigation into ghost students, who are kept on the rolls to increase the amount of funding a school receives. Chris Pabst/WBFF-TV.

B’MORE LAUNCHES PILOT GUARANTEED INCOME PROGRAM: A select group of young Baltimore parents will get a financial leg up over the next two years courtesy of a guaranteed income pilot program that city officials plan to launch next month. The pilot, to begin accepting applications May 2, will offer monthly payments of $1,000 to 200 parents between the ages of 18 and 24. Emily Opilo/The Baltimore Sun.

  • The unconditional cash payment is meant to supplement earnings and, by providing young families with a baseline income, help them afford childcare and cover unexpected medical bills, as well as find employment, according to a news release. Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters.
  • Mayor Brandon Scott had allocated $4.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for the program. Sarah Y. Kim/WYPR-FM.
  • Costs for the program will be funded by the Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success as well as a number of philanthropic partners, including CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Abell Foundation, the France-Merrick Foundation and The Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund. Johanna Alonso/The Daily Record. 

MARYLAND CLERKS WITHHOLD ACCESS TO NEW CIVIL COMPLAINTS: Courthouse News on Monday asked for an injunction against the court clerks of Maryland who are blocking access to new civil complaints at the time of filing and who operate inside the Fourth Circuit — which has already ruled in favor of this news service on the identical First Amendment issue. Bill Girdner/Courthouse News Service.

ELRICH BLASTS RULING STRIKING DOWN MASKS ON TRANSIT: The leader of Maryland’s most populous county is decrying a federal judge’s ruling striking down a mask requirement on planes and public transportation. On Monday, a federal judge in Florida voided an order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mandating masks on planes and other modes of public transportation. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record.

  • Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and other health officials may reinstate mask mandates for public transportation or other indoor settings — depending on if coronavirus cases and hospitalizations keep rising in the coming weeks. Steve Bohnel/Bethesda Beat.

AFTERSHOCKS OF OHIO POLITICAL SCANDAL FELT IN MARYLAND: Two summers ago, the powerful speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives and four of his political associates were arrested in a high-profile bribery scandal. They were charged with taking $61 million in bribes from a FirstEnergy Corp. to pass legislation providing a $1.5 billion taxpayer-funded bailout for the company’s nuclear power plants. FirstEnergy is the parent company of Potomac Edison, which serves more than a quarter million customers in Western Maryland. A consumer watchdog is trying to figure out how much the Ohio scandal is costing ratepayers here. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

BILL TO PUT CAMERAS IN SPECIAL ED CLASSES FAIL; FREDERICK MAY PURSUE: A bill that would have required cameras in special education classrooms across Maryland failed in Annapolis for the third year in a row, but Frederick County may still pursue the matter locally. House Bill 226 would only have applied to self-contained special education classrooms, which are designated specifically for students with special needs and are staffed with certified special educators. Jill Atelsek/The Frederick News Post.

B’MORE OKs $3.5M FOR BUSINESSES HARMED IN FREDDIE GRAY UNREST: The Baltimore Board of Estimates unanimously approved a $3.5 million settlement Wednesday with 68 current and former business owners whose properties were damaged during the 2015 unrest following Freddie Gray’s death from injuries suffered in police custody. Leo Sanderlin/The Baltimore Sun.

JUDGES NAMED TO B’MORE, MO CO CIRCUIT COURTS: Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday appointed three new Baltimore City Circuit Court judges: Paul Joseph Cucuzzella, Martin “Marty” Harold Schreiber II and La Zette Charnae Ringgold-Kirksey. The governor also named Louis Michael Leibowitz to the Montgomery County Circuit Court. Steve Lash/The Daily Record.

BAKER TOUTS NEIGHBORHOOD INITIATIVE FOR STATEWIDE USE: Former Prince George’s County Rushern L. Baker III stood Wednesday in a Suitland neighborhood that had been one of the most crime-ridden areas in the county and the D.C. Region but is now being reconstructed as part of the Transforming Neighborhood Initiative, which designates resources and services to communities that face economic, health and other social ills. Baker, who seeks the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in the July 19 primary, said he wants to incorporate that program statewide. William Ford/The Washington Examiner.

POLITICAL NOTES: CARBON-FREE PLEDGE AND A CLOSE SHAVE: In Political notes, eight Democratic gubernatorial candidates have signed a resolution calling for the next governor to support legislation that would get the state to use 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035 and to work to remove trash incineration from the state’s “clean energy” classification during the 2023 legislative session. Also, Jon Baron, one of the nine Democratic candidates for governor, has launched a two-minute video that primarily shows him shaving. Elizabeth Shwe and Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

OPINION: REPUBLICAN SHALLACK FOR ATTY GEN: Marylanders have a choice; they can elect an attorney general who is a politician or they can elect an attorney general who is a prosecutor. The choice should be obvious. That is why The Duckpin wholeheartedly endorses Jim Shalleck for Atttorney General of Maryland. Brian Griffiths/The Duckpin.

MO CO BOOSTS MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR STUDENTS: The Montgomery County Council is boosting funding for services offered to students in the county amid an escalating mental health crisis among children during the coronavirus pandemic. Nicole Asbury/The Washington Post.

DOCTOR CHARGED WITH MEDICARE FRAUD: A doctor who runs a chain of urgent care facilities headquartered in Gambrills is facing federal charges alleging he fraudulently “bundled” COVID-19 testing with more expensive services while filing Medicare claims. Dan Belson/The Capital Gazette.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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