Dundalk High School under construction (Photo by sugargliding on Flickr)

Big jump in school construction funding stalled in Senate

Time is ticking down on the largest school construction bill in Maryland history.With just five days until the end of the General Assembly session April 8, the Senate has yet to pass HB727, dubbed the Build to Learn Act, which would provide an additional $2.2 billion for school construction, divvying up the bulk of the funding to the state’s largest counties.

State universities lax in charging out-of-state tuition, auditors find

In the college application process, one little box is worth thousands of dollars: the one linked to in-state tuition. Checking that box for the University of Maryland College Park, for example, saves you $24,600 — the difference between paying in-state tuition of $8,651 for the current academic year versus $33,272 for out-of-state students. Some students, however, may be getting an in-state tuition break who shouldn’t be.

School standardized tests to get shorter next year

Here’s some good news for Maryland’s public school students – the state Department of Education plans to cut the time they spend taking standardized tests. The new Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) is being developed to replace the PARCC exams that have been used for the past four years to measure progress in areas such as language arts, math, science and social studies.

Legislative leaders shelve new school funding another year

The most expensive and most controversial issue facing the new legislature — increasing the formulas for school funding — has been shelved for another year.
The House speaker and Senate president told the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education in a letter that there was not enough time for the legislature to take up both its policy changes and its funding decisions in the 90-day session that starts in three weeks.

Kirwan Commission to recommend billions more to raise teacher pay

The commission will be proposing a major bump in teach pay, raising pay for all Maryland public school teachers by 10% between 2020 and 2022, with a minimum teacher salary of $60,000 phased-in by 2024. The commission is also proposing a new career ladder for teachers and additional certifications for teachers under the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. This will raise average teacher pay in Maryland from the current $69,557 to $93,137 by 2029. In the final year of phase-in, the additional state spending is $1.3 billion, according to preliminary costs estimates by the Department of Legislative Services.

Kirwan recommendations will fail if same mistakes are made as with Thornton, consultant says

Thornton failed to deliver the improvement in student performance that its authors envisioned because no one was held accountable, says consultant Marc Tucker. Maryland now ends up with one of the most expensive state systems in the United States but only average student performance. Kirwan will not succeed and be any better than its predecessor unless there is a strong oversight body to make sure it will succeed.

Campaigns debate school funding, but Kirwan education commission provides no guidance

How much it will cost to expand pre-Kindergarten to most 3- and 4-year-olds in Maryland or to substantially raise teacher salaries have become heated arguments in the race for governor. But the state Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education that is supposed to be determining the price tags for these and other big public school changes appears to be months away from decisions on revising funding formulas that was the basic charge of the commission.