State Roundup: As schools prep to open, teacher shortages, school buildings and funding remain a concern; Biden order to aid military victims of sexual assaults

State Roundup: As schools prep to open, teacher shortages, school buildings and funding remain a concern; Biden order to aid military victims of sexual assaults

The state is facing a teacher shortage in 28 subjects, up from 17 just five years ago. Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

TEACHER SHORTAGE REMAINS, THOUGH BETTER THAN LAST YEAR: Teachers around the state and nation struggled to teach in partially staffed school buildings last school year. To fill the gaps, Maryland school districts offered bonuses, raised salaries, held dozens of job fairs and tried improving work culture to keep the teachers they have and hire new ones. Bigger school systems still found themselves with hundreds of teacher vacancies this summer, but are reporting improvements. Kristen Griffith/The Baltimore Banner.

B’MORE SHUTTERS 30 SCHOOLS IN 10 YEARS, BUT WAS THAT A GOOD IDEA? In some Baltimore neighborhoods, where schoolhouses may be among the last stable anchors left, the decision to close one can feel like a death knell. At least 30 schools closed and were transferred to the city in 10 years, records show. The wave of shutdowns in Baltimore stems from an agreement among city and state leaders that new and much-needed investment in city school buildings would occur in tandem with closing “underutilized” schools, or those with enrollment below 85%. Hallie Miller/The Baltimore Banner.

CECIL, ST. MARY’S SCHOOLS ARE LOWEST FUNDED: Among the 24 public school systems in Maryland, Cecil County Public Schools ranked as the lowest funded — based on per-student funding — in FY23, falling just $42 behind St. Mary’s County, according to the Maryland Department of Legislative Service’s rankings. Matt Hubbard/The Cecil Whig.

BIDEN ORDER TO AID MARYLAND SERVICE MEMBERS FOLLOWING SEXUAL ASSAULTS: Maryland service members will now have more options and expertise available when reporting sexual assault, child abuse and other serious crimes. President Joe Biden signed an executive order last week taking those crimes out of the chain of command, meaning service members will not be compelled to report those crimes to their commanders first. Rather, they can go to local law enforcement or to nonprofit organizations for help. Scott Maucione/WYPR-FM.

STATE TROOPER SHARES GEORGE FLOYD MEME; SEES PUNISHMENT THREE YEARS LATER: On a Tuesday night in June 2020, eight days after George Floyd’s murder, Cpl. Jason Oros of the Maryland State Police texted a doctored meme to members of the task force he helped supervise. It used an image of George Floyd on the ground with a Minneapolis Police officer kneeling on his neck. The meme swiftly sparked an internal investigation by Maryland State Police. However, it took more three years for a resolution on Oros’ employment and it raises questions of how White officers are handled. Darcy Costello/The Baltimore Sun.

WICOMICO EXEC, COUNCIL DISPUTE TO HEAD TO COURT: A nasty fight over personnel matters between Wicomico County Executive Julie Giordano (R) and the seven-member county council is headed to court. Officially, it’s a dispute over Giordano’s desire to fill three high-ranking positions over the council’s objection. But it’s also the latest twist in an ongoing struggle between the executive and legislative branches in the Eastern Shore county, as Wicomico continues to settle in to its relatively new form of charter government. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

SHERIFF JENKINS HAD ‘LITTLE UNDERSTANDING’ OF LETTERS, LAWYER SAYS: Reiterating their desire for two separate trials, attorneys for Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins argued Monday that their client had “very little, if any, understanding of the legal significance” of the letters at the center of a federal case against him and a local firearms dealer. Jillian Atelsek/Frederick News Post.

MO CO DEM COMMITTEE MEMBER CALLS FOR CHAIR’s RESIGNATION: A member of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee is calling for the committee’s chair, Saman Qadeer Ahmad, to resign, alleging she pressured him to vote against a committee candidate and that she claimed she was doing so on behalf of Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller (D). Ginny Bixby/MoCo 360.

SANITARY COMMISSION SUES 20 FIRMS OVER PFAS: The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Maryland against nearly 20 companies, alleging they knowingly polluted the environment with “forever chemicals.” WSSC said damages received would go toward the cost of updating water treatment methods. Luke Lukert/WTOP-FM.

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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