State Roundup: Eyes on school systems’ spending; Angelos wants to re-invent Camden Yards campus; Trone picks up endorsements from 30 congressional colleagues

State Roundup: Eyes on school systems’ spending; Angelos wants to re-invent Camden Yards campus; Trone picks up endorsements from 30 congressional colleagues

Auditors are keeping a close eye on school contract spending throughout the state. Students wait to board school buses. 2012 photo by Len Lazarick.

AUDITORS RAISE QUESTIONS ON SCHOOL CONTRACT SPENDING: Auditors keep a close eye on school district contracting in Maryland — and if you’re wondering why, just look at what happened in May in Montgomery County. After auditors raised suspicions, the district’s former assistant director of transportation pleaded guilty to stealing over $320,000 from the county’s school system over a span of at least five years by misusing district purchasing cards and mismanaging a contract for the purchase of school buses. Kayla Nazaire of Capital News Service/

MYSTERIOUS VENDOR PAYMENTS BIG & SMALL: Here is a look at some of the most mysterious expenses found as we examined more than 26,000 vendor payments of $25,000 or more made by Maryland’s school districts between the 2018-2019 and 2021-2022 school years, including $694.1 million Arundel schools paid to something called “Electronic Funds Transf Program.” Capital News Service/

  • With employee health care costs leading the way, Maryland’s public school districts spent $21.1 billion between fiscal years 2019 and 2022 not on teacher and staff salaries, but on everything else that keeps the schools running. That’s the bottom line if you add up all 26,000-plus vendor payments of $25,000 or more made by Maryland’s school districts between the 2018-2019 and 2021-2022 school years. Capital News Service/

WHAT JOHN ANGELOS REALLY WANTS: John Angelos’ priority for now is not a lease extension for the Orioles at Camden Yards. He does not like the word lease — but a “public-private partnership” that would reinvent the Camden Yards campus. The plans would include the usual live-work-play stuff — residences, hotels, shops, restaurants, bars — that modern owners covet. But Angelos mentioned several other possibilities: an elementary school located in the warehouse, a health and wellness clinic, internship and mentorship programs for local youth. Tyler Kepner/The New York Times.

STATE CONSIDERED SUING MLB ON BEHALF OF ANGELOS: At the request of current Orioles chairman John Angelos, Maryland officials seriously considered an extraordinary idea: that the state sue Major League Baseball on behalf of the team, alleging the league was misusing its antitrust exemption in a dispute over fees from the Os’ broadcast network. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.

SCHOOLS CHIEF MEETS WITH LAWMAKERS TO LIMIT DAMAGE: Mohammed Choudhury, Maryland’s superintendent of schools, has been meeting one-on-one with General Assembly leaders in what one lawmaker called a “kiss and make up tour” and another described as an “apology tour” coming on the heels of acknowledging “missteps in proactively communicating changes” and about claims he has mismanaged his agency. Ovetta Wiggins, Valerie Strauss and Nicole Asbury/ Washington Post.

***If you like the idea of learning about China today, now is the time to sign up for a six-week seminar by Maryland Reporter’s Len Lazarick at Howard Community College. The small two-hour class runs every two weeks starting Thursday Sept. 7 and ending Nov. 16. Click here to learn more and register for the course.***

CANNABIS ADVOCATES SEEK BROADER CULTURAL CHANGES: A new law signed by Gov. Wes Moore earlier this year means that Child Protective Services cannot separate families solely because the parent used cannabis. It’s a step in the right direction, advocates said. But family law and cannabis activists are still pushing through a “legal war and a cultural war” for broader change. Clara Longo de Freitas/The Baltimore Banner.

STATE LOOKS FOR FED FUNDS TO REBUILD LEGION BRIDGE: State transportation officials said they will seek more than $3 billion in federal funding to ease congestion around the American Legion Bridge, a move that could potentially provide traffic relief in the region without privately managed toll lanes but the application does not preclude a public-private partnership model favored by former Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters

HBCU GROUP TO AG: RECONSIDER ‘DO-OVER’ ON VOTE: A group of Maryland HBCU advocates wants the state Office of the Attorney General to “reconsider” its opinion that a state education commission should revote on a Towson University plan to establish a business analytics doctoral program because the original 4-3 vote did not have a majority of the commission’s 12 members voting in favor. The advocates say that the program duplicates one offered by Morgan State. William Ford/Maryland Matters.

NEARLY 30 CONGRESSIONAL COLLEAGUES BACK TRONE RE-ELECTION: Nearly 30 members of Congress, including the son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the lead manager in the first Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, are backing their colleague Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) in the 2024 Democratic primary for Maryland’s open U.S. Senate seat. Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post.

SNAP BENEFIT CUTS HURT LOW INCOME FAMILIES: National and Maryland-based hunger relief organizations are grappling with the fact that millions in federal dollars for food assistance programs are no longer available low-income families who relied on them through the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the fact that many families still struggle to afford basic needs. The Food Research & Action Center, a nonprofit aiming to reduce poverty-related hunger, said that the reduced funds result in the average SNAP benefits falling to about $6 a person a day. Danielle Brown/Maryland Matters.

MO CO COUNCIL MEMBERS CALL FOR STATE TO LOOK INTO MCPS: Two Montgomery County Council members requested Monday the county schools halt the work of a Baltimore law firm investigating claims made by school system employees and that state and county watchdogs investigate the county school system’s handling of reported allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and retaliation by former Farquhar Middle School Principal Joel Beidleman. Nicole Asbury and Alexandra Robbins/Washington Post.

VIRTUAL LEARNING PROGRAM A PUNISHMENT IN BA CO SCHOOLS: Last year, Baltimore County Public School assigned 133 students to its Virtual Learning Program as a punishment. This was the first time students in trouble were enrolled in the distinct Virtual Learning Program, which the system says has more supports than other e-learning methods. But experts and parents say online learning is the wrong approach for students facing discipline, who need extra in-person support to learn, stay enrolled and avoid contact with the criminal justice system. Cassidy Jensen and Sabrina LeBoeuf/The Baltimore Sun.

FREDERICK COLLEGE FACULTY SEEKS TO FORM UNION: The full-time faculty at Frederick Community College on Monday filed paperwork with the state Public Employee Relations Board declaring their intent to form a union. The board is now tasked with verifying that more than 50% of the employees desire the union to be their exclusive representative. Ceoli Jacoby/The Frederick News Post.

HANCOCK HEADED TOWARD MEDIATION OVER POT PROFITS: The tiny town of Hancock, in western Maryland, is a 5 percent equity partner in cannabis giant Trulieve’s Maryland operation after the company bought Harvest the town’s original partner. The town and Trulieve are headed to mediation over profits. Ovetta Wiggins/Washington Post.

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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