Keeping You Current on Education
Reform in Maryland
|May 5, 2000
||Vol. 11, No. 7
Education Makes the
Grade in 2000 General Assembly
New Legislation Passed Will Have Long-Lasting Impact Across
Education continues be a major issue nationally, and from the actions of
the 2000 General Assembly, education remains a priority in Maryland. Many bills passed
during the legislative session will have long-lasting effects as the state enters its
second decade of school reform.
One disappointment for the State Board of Education, however, was that its
proposed $49 million Academic Intervention Plan to help students who fall behind their
peers at all levels received only partial funding after long and passionate debate.
The FY2001 budget will include items such as $2 million to modernize the
state teacher certification process. Expanded funding is included for professional
development involving gifted and talented programs; for fine arts; and for dance
School systems additionally will be affected by Senate Bill 896 concerning
distribution of money from the Cigarette Restitution Fund. A requirement of the program is
an annual survey of student behavior.
This Special Edition MSDE Bulletin details some of the major bills passed
by lawmakers over the previous few months, and the groups they will particularly impact.
Governor's Teacher Salary Challenge (Senate Bill 810 and House
Bill 1247): Provides for salary increases of up to 10 percent over two years
through a cooperative program between the state and local school systems. Systems
approving four percent raises for each of the two years will receive an additional one
percent grant from the state.
Homeownership Opportunities for Teachers (SB 206):
Provides for inclusion of teachers in efforts by the Department of Housing and Community
Development to make low-cost home loans available. Eligible teachers include those hired
within the past five years; those committed to teaching in Maryland for at least the next
three years; first-time homebuyers in designated areas; and those purchasing homes where
the need for teachers is greatest.
Reemployment of Retired Personnel (SB 220):
Expanded 1999 SB 15, which granted pension earnings exemptions to retired teachers who
returned to work. They must return to a geographic area declared as having a teacher
shortage or to teach in specific fields short of certified teachers. This expansion
includes retired principals in the plan.
Teachers Employed by Private Contractors (SB 866 and HB 1297):
Allows members of retirement and pension systems who go to work at reconstituted
schools (operated by private contractors) to withdraw their accumulated contributions.
Retirees Exemption (HB 1404): Retirees from local
school systems who were members of the Teacher's Retirement System will be exempted from
an offset of retirement allowance if they become re-employed in a part-time position with
the University System of Maryland.
Maryland Scholarships (SB 205 and HB 281):
Increases Maryland HOPE maximum scholarship to $5,000 annually for students in a four-year
college, and to $2,000 annually for students in two-year institutions, if they commit to
teach in Maryland schools after graduation.
Students and Programs
Academic Intervention Plan (SB 810 and HB 1247):
Provides $12 million to fund intervention programs in middle schools. Intervention would
help students who fall behind their peers academically and prepare them for planned High
Early Childhood Literacy Grants (SB 750 and HB 1172):
Requires State Board to provide grants to organizations that promote early
Judith P. Hoyer Early Care and Education Centers (SB 793) / Judith
P. Hoyer Smart Start Initiative (HB 1249): Establishes competitive grant
program for early child care programs, education centers and education enhancement. These
programs are in line with some of the early childhood recommendations of the State Board's
adopted all-encompassing Academic Intervention Plan.
Diplomas for WW II Veterans (HB 329): Requires
local boards to adopt regulations granting high school diplomas to students who dropped
out of high school to fight in World War II.
Summing Up the
2000 Maryland Legislative Session
Public Education Partnership Fund (SB 107): Created
fund that would be able to accept private donations for various purposes, including
seminars and public information.
Aging School Program (SB 894): Creates state debt
of $9.8 million, the proceeds to be used as a grant to Interagency Committee on School
Construction for allocation to eligible school systems under the Aging School Program.
Funds to be used for repair, renovation and capital improvements.
Solar Energy Pilot Program (SB 711): Authorizes
local boards to apply for grants to cover 90 percent of the total additional cost of
constructing or renovating school buildings to utilize solar energy systems.
Lead Poisoning Tests (SB 712): Requires a public
school physical exam of students in high-risk areas to include a blood test screening for
Social Security Numbers on School Identification (HB 37):
Prohibits local boards from using student or employee Social Security numbers on
any identification card.
Failing to Stop for School Buses Enforcement (SB 900):
Increases penalties for passing a stopped school bus and establishes $600,000 grant
to assist law enforcement efforts (funded by motorists penalties).
Other Actions Passed
* President's Day: Declared President's Day in February a state school
* Authorization to issue bonds and/or borrow for facility development:
Granted to Baltimore City and counties of Calvert, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester and St.
* Montgomery Transportation Hearings: Requires public hearing by
Montgomery County Board of Education whenever it meets to consider an appeal on a school
bus stop or bus route
* Prince George's Student Board Member Election: Authorizes county's
Regional Association of Student Governments to establish procedures to elect the student
member on the county Board of Education
* Somerset Straw Poll on High School Consolidation: Places on November
2000 ballot non-binding question whether the two high schools in the county should be
* Worcester Poll on Board Election: Places on November 2000 ballot
non-binding question of whether the county Board of Education should be elected
Summary of 2000 Failed Legislation
* Public Charter Schools: Act of 2000 would have allowed pilot program of
charter schools to be created by local school boards
* Reconstitution/Transfers: Would have allowed local boards to grant
private school vouchers to students whose schools were reconstituted
* Academic Intervention Plan: Would have provided $45 million each of the
next two years to fund the plan. (Some provisions were eventually passed)
* Class Size Reduction: Pilot program would have established limit of 17
or fewer students in eligible kindergarten through grade 3 core curriculum classes
* Student teachers and interns background disclosure: Would have required
criminal background disclosure forms prior to being placed in school setting
* Principals and Administrators Mentor Programs: Would have authorized
State Superintendent of Schools to distribute competitive grants to local boards for
mentoring, targeting those systems with a majority of principals and administrators having
five years or fewer years of administrative experience.
* Required Use of Teacher Assistants: Would have required teacher
assistants in all classes, and for all school activities, kindergarten through grade 3
* Use of Portable Phones: Would have allowed students to possess portable
phones on school property as long as the phones did not disrupt the school setting and
were not being used for criminal activity
* Prayer at School-sponsored Activities: Would have allowed prayers at
* Criminal Procedure Restitution: Would have allowed seeking of
reimbursement from a student who makes a bomb threat and would have suspended driver's
license of minors committing certain crimes
School & Community Outreach Office
Maryland State Department of Education
200 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Web site: www.msde.state.md.us
Assistant State Superintendent