February 18th Newsletter
News from Annapolis!
It’s hard to believe that we are almost half way through the 2019 Session. So far there have been 928 Senate Bills and 1,310 Houses Bills submitted for consideration. There is still much to be completed including the budget; which the House is considering first this year.
Here are a few of the highlights:
2019 District 32 Bond Initiatives
Below are the District 32 Bond initiatives I am sponsoring this legislative session. The Senate is allocated approximately $7 million for bond initiatives across the state; therefor it is unlikely we will get the full amount we are asking for. These local projects are important to the community and I will fight for the funding they deserve!
$250,000 – Andover Park
$200,000 – Maryland City Athletic Complex Lighting Upgrade
$500,000 –National Cryptologic Museum and Cyber Center for Education and Innovation
$200,000 – North County High School Field House
$375,000 - Severn Danza Park
$250,000 – YWCA Domestic Violence and Trafficking Shelters
Kirwan Commission Update
This week, Senators were briefed on the Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education. This Commission headed by Dr. William Kirwan is tasked with reviewing the state’s education funding formulas and developing policies that will elevate Maryland’s school systems. The Commission found that despite a reputation for strong schools, Maryland students underperform. Our state is facing a significant shortage in teachers and fewer than 40% of students graduate each year assessed as “College and Career Ready”. They have identified five major policy areas that would give Maryland a world-class education system.
Invest in early childhood education
Transform Teaching into a high status profession
Implement a rigorous curricula benchmarked to international standards leading to college ready and industry certified workforce credentials.
Ensure all students are successful by providing significantly more support for schools who need it most. Including students attending schools with high concentrations of poverty and struggling learners.
Establish a rigorous governance and accountability structure with meaningful consequences for under performance.
This Commission has asked the General Assembly to allocate $325 million as a jumpstart for Commission recommendations and to reserve $750 million for Fiscal year 2021 as the State’s share of the implementation cost. Some of the Commission’s early funding priorities are full day Pre-K for 4-year-olds, a teacher salary increase, a health/behavioral health funding increase, seed grants for teacher collaborative and Concentration of Poverty Grants.
The cost of implementing the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations will be substantial in the coming years but the long term benefits of a redesigned PreK-12 educational system with lower disparities between race and socio-economic means, will be worth it.
State Aid to Anne Arundel County
State aid to localities accounts for a large portion of the State budget, almost 40% of the general fund. All jurisdictions will receive an increase in State aid in fiscal 2020. In fiscal year 2020, Anne Arundel County is expected to receive $539.9 million in state aid. Of that total, $469.5 million is direct aid, and $70.5 million is for retirement payments. Anne Arundel County has the twelfth highest increase at 4.1%. This is an additional $21.4 million in State funding.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools will receive $384.1 million in State direct aid in Fiscal 2020, a 4.7% increases. This is $5,539 in per student in State funding. The number of students approved for free and reduced-price meal in Anne Arundel County has increased by 2.6%, currently over 25,000 students are served. This is nearly one-third of the public school students in the county (31.4%).
The Green Bag
The Secretary of Appointments, Chris Cavey, delivered the “Green Bag” to the Senate on Friday, February 15. There are 115 appointments requested by the Governor. The appointments will be considered by the Executive Nominations Committee and the recommendations will be referred back to the Senate. This is my first year to serve on Executive Nominations and I am honored to be the Vice-Chairman of the Committee.
Unemployment for Federal Workers
The House of Delegates approved unemployment benefits for Federal Workers who have to work during the Federal shut-down. There are about 22,000 Federal workers in Maryland. The bill now moves to the Senate for the Senate consideration. The bill would use state revenue to create a loan fund to pay benefits to affected workers. The state must get a letter from the U.S. Department of Labor stating that the fund will not jeopardize compliance with the federal unemployment program.
The application for my Senatorial Scholarship is up on my website: https://www.pambeidle.com/scholarship. You must file the FAFSA by March 1st and the deadline for receipt of my application is April 1st.
My office is always open, this week students from The Maryland Independent College Association stopped by as part of Maryland Independent Higher Education Day.
If you are visiting the General Assembly stop by to see us! My office is staffed by Nancy Lipin Crawford, my Chief of Staff, and Joe Cadman, my Legislative Aide. My office is open full time during the Session. Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts and concerns. My contact information is: pamela.beidle@Senate.state.md.us or 410.841.3593. You can also find updates at my website www.pambeidle.com and on Facebook at Senator Pam Beidle.
It is truly an honor to serve you in the Maryland General Assembly,
Senator Pam Beidle
11 Bladen St
Room 202, James Office Building
Annapolis, MD 21411