BOE Legislative Report 02_08_2010 by grb15373


									                              BOARD OF EDUCATION OF HARFORD COUNTY

                                              LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

                                                    February 8, 2010

Background Information:

The Maryland General Assembly meets in Annapolis each year for 90 days to act on legislative measures including the
State’s annual budget. The 427th Session began January 13, 2010 and adjourns April 12, 2010. To date, approximately
954 legislative bills (as of January 30) have been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly. Of those, approximately
160 represent the operational and instructional side of issues facing our public schools and employees. Other measures
are included in the bill count as informational only and are carefully watched for possible amendments and subsequent
impact to local boards of education and school systems.


The following bills are presented for the Board of Education’s consideration. The first section contains bills on which
the Board is requested to take a formal position. The second section contains bills for your information. A Board
position is not being requested at this time. The third section contains bills addressed by the Board’s Legislative
Platform That being so, no vote is needed and we will advocate for the Board’s interests consistent with the 2010
Legislative Program.

Superintendent’s Recommendation:
The Superintendent recommends that the Board of Education of Harford County adopt the Legislative Update as
                                           SECTION 1: BOE VOTE REQUESTED
  BILL                        TITLE / SYNOPSIS                                    RECOMMENDED POSITION
                             Student Stigma Act                                             Support
              Sponsored by Delegates Sophocleus, Robinson,          This bill would change references to emotional
              Cane, DeBoy, Sossi, Glenn, Riley, Wood, Frush,        disturbance to emotional disability. This bill would
              Love, and Carr                                        remove the stigma attached to the use of the term
 HB 11   “disturbance,” as it is unfortunately associated with
 SB 204                                                             special education students. This is akin to the
                                                                    successful effort last year of the General Assembly in
              Senators Pinsky, Harrington, Lenett, and              enacting “Rosa’s Law,” to change “mental retardation”
              Madaleno                                              to intellectual disability. It will neither have an impact
       on identification and assessment practices, nor change
                                                                    eligibility criteria for special education services.

         Education-Incidents of Bullying, Harassment,                                Oppose
         or Intimidation-Reports by Principals-Local
                                                              This legislation is not needed, coming shortly after the
                  Law Enforcement Agency
                                                              General Assembly amended the Education Article to
                                                              require a model policy by the State Board of Education,
                                                              and for all local boards to have specific components in
        Sponsored by: Delegate McConkey
                                                              their local policies, to address critical elements as to
                                                              bullying. This bill would not authorize principals to
                                                              report an incident directly to the local chief of police
HB 17                                                         without stating what the police department would do
        This bill authorizes a public school principal to
                                                              with this information. Most incidents of bullying, not
        report an incident of bullying, harassment, or
                                                              involving a violent or illegal act, or associated with
        intimidation against a student attending the school
                                                              possible gang activity, are handled at the appropriate
        to the local law enforcement agency. The principal
                                                              administrative level, using existing disciplinary
        must use the standard victim of bullying,
                                                              sanctions. Only those that do implicate criminal
        harassment, or intimidation report form.              behavior are reported by calling 911, through our
                                                              Safety and Security Office, or the appropriate school
                                                              resource officer, to the Police Department.
         Task Force to Incorporate the Principles of                                    Oppose
        Universal Design for Learning into the Policies,
                                                            While this bill only creates a Task Force, it is likely
         Practices, and Curriculum of the Education
                                                            recommendations could include imposition of
                     Systems in Maryland
                                                            curriculum-related requirements that could affect
        Introduced by Delegate Pena-Melnyk                  HCPS instructional activities. In addition, the State’s budgetary difficulties will likely be significant in FY
                                                            2012 when the Task Force report/recommendations
        This bill would establish a 21 member Task Force would be considered by the General Assembly. Based
        to Incorporate the Principles of Universal Design   on the current scheme, FY 2012 will be the first budget
        for Learning (UDL) into the Policies, Practices,    year in which federal stimulus monies (from the
        and Curriculum of the Education Systems in          American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), will make
        Maryland. The study would also be charged with the fiscal climate extremely challenging. This could
HB 59   making recommendations for the minimum              create a situation where an unfunded mandate
        standards to be used by local boards of education   involving UDL would be imposed.
        in the development of local school systems
                                                            On the other hand, this bill is strongly supported by
        policies and procedures incorporating the
                                                            MSDE, the State PTA, and other statewide
        principles of UDL. The Task Force would be
                                                            organizations. Special education personnel and
        required to submit its report and recommendations
                                                            curriculum staff have been actively working on UDL
        to the State Board and the General Assembly no
                                                            for the past year and are supportive of MSDE’s
        later than June 30, 2011.
                                                            leadership in advancing this Task Force. The Division
        MABE voted on January 25 to take no position on of Special Education already has initiated a UDL
        the bill.                                           framework in its assistive/instructive technology office
                                                            with a foundation on universal access for all specialty

                Election Law-Access to Voting Room and                                      Support
               Voting Booth by Minors Not Eligible to Vote
                                                                    Currently, children under the age of 13 may accompany
             Sponsored by: Delegates Levy, Aumann, Barve,           a voter into a voting booth at a polling place in the
             Boteler, Bronrott, Cane, Carr, G. Clagett, DeBoy,      State. This bill would raise that age so that any child
             Elmore, Frick, Frush, George, Glenn, Hecht,            under the age of 18 may accompany a voter. By
             Howard, Jameson, Kaiser, Kipke, Kullen,                increasing the age limit, students at the high school
             Lafferty, Lee, Mizeur, Montgomery, Morhaim,            level, who will be eligible to vote within a few years or
             Murphy, Olszewski, Reznik, Rice, Robinson,             less, will be able to witness the actual voting process
 HB 240      Ross, Sophocleus, Stukes, V. Turner, and Wood          firsthand. Moreover, it will encourage civic
 SB 121    participation and responsibility by increasing student’s
                                                                    knowledge of voting procedures.
             Sponsored by: Senator Middleton
             Increasing the maximum age at which a minor
             may accompany a voter in the voting room and
             voting booth at a polling place to 17; and
             requiring that a minor who accompanies a voter
             may not be eligible to vote in that election

                    Education - Maintenance of Effort                              Support with Amendment
                    Requirement - Process and Factors
                                                                 This is not the maintenance of effort (MOE) bill we
             Sponsored by: Delegates Jones, Conway,              have feared, although it may yet be filed. Rather, this
             Hixson, Holmes, McIntosh, O'Donnell, Ross,          is consistent with both the Board’s Legislative Program
             Schuh                                               and the recommendations of the Joint Workgroup to
    Study State County and Municipal Relationships
                                                                 appointed by the Speaker and Senate President, which
             Senators Kasemeyer, Currie, DeGrange,
                                                                 completed its work this past December.
             Garagiola, Kittleman, Madaleno, McFadden,
             Middleton, and Munson
 HB 304
 SB 310
            Altering the date by which a county governing
            body must make a request to the State Board of
            Education for a waiver from the maintenance of
            effort requirement; requiring the State Board of
            Education to consider specified factors when
            making a decision whether to grant a waiver;
            altering the date by which the State Board of
            Education must inform the county governing body
            whether the waiver application has been granted
            or denied, etc.
Most importantly, this bill would maintain the current scheme pursuant to which waivers have to be requested, on a
county by county basis, from the State Board of Education, and would eschew the “blanket waiver” approach some would
recommend to grant waivers for all counties next fiscal year whether or not certain criteria were met.

This bill would change the current deadline for counties to file MOE requests with the State Board from April 1, which is
considered premature inasmuch as the State budget may not have been adopted by that date. This bill would change the
deadline to either seven days after the end of the General Assembly session or May 1, whichever is earlier. This is

Moreover, this bill would codify the four criteria currently in State Board regulation for granting a waiver (external
environmental factors such as loss of a major business or industry; a county’s tax bases; rate of inflation relative to growth
of student population in a county; and the MOE requirement relative to a county’s statutory ability to raise revenues).

Changing these criteria from regulation to law has no significant effect.

To those, this bill would add three additional criteria recommended by the Task Force (a county governing body’s history
of exceeding MOE; the existence of an agreement between the county governing body and a county board that a waiver
should be granted – which occurred in Montgomery County this past year but was not addressed by the State Board; and
significant reductions in state aid to county and municipalities of the county for the fiscal year for which a waiver is
applied). These criteria represent a reasoned approach of the Task Force.

However, it is recommended that the first of the new criteria – a county’s history of exceeding MOE – be weighted or
otherwise take into account the comparative efforts of jurisdictions, as reflected in the Education Effort Index published
annually by MSDE, rather than simply giving credit for mathematically exceeding MOE in the past. Wealth is measured
by total assessable base and income tax base for Counties. For the comparable total wealth, I would use Harford,
Frederick, Charles & Carroll County as the most closely related to comparable wealth. In comparisons of Wealth per
pupil State Education aid Calvert, Carroll, & Harford are comparable.

With this amendment, we will advocate for the Board’s long standing support for the continuation of maintenance of
effort on a case-by-case approach.

               Education - Maintenance of Effort – Penalty                                  Support

             Sponsored by: Senators Pinsky, Exum,                   This bill would correct the penalty provision in law that
             Harrington, Lenett, Madaleno, and Raskin               now results in compounding the reduction of local
       funding below maintenance of effort with the added
                                                                    penalty of withholding the annual increase in state
             This bill would alter the penalty provisions for a     education aid. The bill would amend the penalty
             county governing body that fails to meet the           currently imposed on a school system by shifting that
 SB 403
             maintenance of effort requirement for primary and      same penalty amount to the local government by
             secondary education.                                   withholding any other aid due the county responsible
                                                                    for failing to satisfy the maintenance of effort
                                                                    requirement. We would support the removal of the
                                                                    state penalty for a waiver of MOE, as LEA’s would get
                                                                    penalized twice. Once from the County for a waiver of
                                                                    maintenance of effort and second from the State for not
                                                                    meeting MOE.
               Education - Statewide Maintenance of Effort                                     Oppose
                                                                    This bill would require a statewide blanket waiver
             Sponsored by: Delegates Hixson, Boteler,               without any reference to local criteria such as tax
             Bronrott, Cane, G. Clagett, DeBoy, Doory,              capacity, tax effort, agreements reached with the local
             Dumais, Frick, Gilchrist, Glenn, Healey, Hecht,        school board, or track record regarding exceeding
             Ivey, Kaiser, King, Love, Minnick, Mizeur,             maintenance of effort in past years.
             Montgomery, Niemann, Ramirez, Rice, Shewell,
             Sophocleus, Sossi, Stocksdale, and Wood
 HB 410

             This bill would waive the maintenance of effort
             requirement for the counties and Baltimore City
             for a specified fiscal year; providing for the
             calculation of specified levels of appropriations by
             the counties and Baltimore City for a specified
             fiscal year; making the Act an emergency


BILL                   TITLE / SYNOPSIS                                              NO POSITION
              Education-Disruptive Youth-Funding               This bill, introduced on behalf of MSDE, would repeal
                                                               a provision now codified in the Education Article that
         Sponsored by: Chair, Education, Health, and           mandates that MSDE shall allocate monies, in response
         Environmental Affairs Committee (By Request -         to competitive proposals, to local school districts for
         Departmental - Education)                             schools or clusters of schools to support the   development and expansion of special programs for
SB 76                                                          disruptive youth. The language in law is merely
Passed   This departmental bill repeals the requirement that   authorizing language; it does not provide for a specific
Senate   the State appropriate funds for the Maryland State    amount. In past years, HCPS has not received any
         Department of Education (MSDE) to allocate to         funding for these programs because none has been
         local school systems to support the development       allocated. In any event, in a year when our major
         and expansion of special programs for disruptive      concern has to be with issues such as maintenance of
         youth. The bill also repeals the associated           effort, pension costs, and the like, we must recognize
         reporting requirements for MSDE and local             that MSDE will be seeking relief from smaller funding
         school systems.                                       mandates such as these.

           Education-Age of Compulsory Attendance-             It is important to keep all students in the classroom
                         Exemptions                            until graduation. The Board currently has programs in
                                                               place to prevent students from dropping out of school.
         Sponsored by: Senators Pugh, King, Conway,
         Currie, Exum, Forehand, Frosh, Garagiola,             However, this bill would change the age limit without
         Glassman, Harrington, Jones, Kasemeyer, Kelley,       any funding or additional services, alternative
         Kramer, Lenett, Madaleno, McFadden, Muse,             programs, staffing, or space capacity. As salutary as
         Peters, Raskin, Robey, and Rosapepe                   the intentions of the sponsors is, they have not   addressed these and many other issues considered by
                                                               the Compulsory School Attendance Task Force which
         This bill would increase the compulsory school        issued a report in December of 2007.
         attendance age to require a student to attend until
         he or she turns 17 years of age unless, among         700B064-C2B3-41FC-A6CF-
         other exceptions, the student: has earned a           D3DAE4969707/15419/FINALCOMPULSORYATTE
SB 239   diploma or GED; is a special education student        NDANCETASKFORCEREPORT.pdf
         who has received a Certificate of Completion; is
                                                               One finding of the Task Force was that raising the
         being home schooled; is severely ill and receiving
                                                               compulsory age, in and of itself, would not reduce the
         home or hospital instruction; is married; is in
                                                               dropout rate, but that supports, alternative education,
         military service; is committed by court to an
                                                               multiple pathways to a diploma, and addressing the
         institution without an educational program; is
                                                               needs of English Language Learners and disabled
         pregnant or a parent and is enrolled in an
                                                               students were paramount.
         alternative educational program; or attends an
         alternative educational program.
                                                               When a similar bill was introduced in the 2008 session
                                                               to increase the age to 18, the fiscal note accompanying
                                                               the bill estimated the increase in statewide operating
                                                               costs to be $97 million two years after the bill’s
                                                               effective date. Capital costs were estimated to be
                                                               approximately another $45 million.


BILL                    TITLE / SYNOPSIS                                         POSITION TO BE TAKEN
           Education-High School Diploma-GED Options                                    Oppose
           Sponsored by: Senators Pugh, Jones, Lenett,        As the Board did last year, the Board should again
           Madaleno, and Muse                                 oppose this identical bill, which did not move out of
  last session. Although well-intentioned, this
                                                              amounts to an unfunded mandate, requiring mandatory
           This bill requires the State Board of Education to
                                                              enrollment and attendance in a GED preparatory
           establish a GED Options Program that provides
SB 128                                                        program for at least 15 hours per week and training in
           specified students with an alternative course for
                                                              workforce development skills for any student between
           obtaining a high school diploma beginning August
                                                              the ages of 16 and 18 determined to be at high risk for
           1, 2010. The bill further provides for specified
                                                              dropping out of high school. No additional funding is
           program requirements and requires students
                                                              provided beyond counting these students in the usual
           enrolled in the GED Options Program to be
                                                              student enrollment count, even though this may
           counted in the average daily attendance of a local
                                                              necessitate additional teachers, pupil personnel workers
           school system. The measure requires the State
                                                              and other staff to be successful.
           Board to adopt regulations.

              Education-Comprehensive Master Plans                                       Support
          Sponsored by: Chair, Education, Health, and
                                                                 This bill, introduced at the request of MSDE, would
          Environmental Affairs Committee (By Request -
                                                                 revise the date by when a new comprehensive master
          Departmental - Education)
                                                                 plan would have to be submitted by local school
    districts to the State (2012) and permit school districts
          74.pdf                                                 to submit pre-existing plans, such as strategic plans, to
                                                                 satisfy the requirement for a master plan, and to permit
          This departmental bill requires local boards of        school districts to continue to submit annual updates to
          education to continue submitting annual updates to     the current one until then.
          their master plans in October 2010 and October
SB 74     2011 and delays the requirement that local boards      This amendatory language to existing law, consistent
          of education summit new five-year comprehensive        with the Board’s Legislative Program (Local Board
          master plans from October 15, 2010, until October      Authority), would be helpful in avoiding redundancy
          15, 2012. Local boards may submit a preexisting        and taking away time and resources from other critical
          management plan in lieu of a comprehensive             efforts in order to develop a new plan. One other
          master plan. The State Superintendent of Schools       revision embodied in this bill would lessen to 30 days
          must approve the management plan in lieu of a          (from 60 days) the current requirement for submitting a
          comprehensive master plan if the pre-existing plan     draft plan or update to the County government (for its
          meets the requirements for the comprehensive           information, only) prior to submitting it to MSDE.
          master plan. Beginning in 2013, rather than 2011,      This change is salutary inasmuch as it will permit staff
          each annual master plan update must cover a five-      to have time to transmit a more complete document.
          year period.

         Building Opportunities for All Students and                                    Oppose
         Teachers (BOAST) in Maryland Tax Credit
                                                               Consistent with the Board’s Legislative Program, the
         Sponsored by: Senators DeGrange, Brinkley,
                                                               Board has consistently opposed versions of this same
         Dyson, Klausmeier, McFadden, Peters, Reilly,
                                                               bill introduced in past sessions, for diverting taxpayer
         and Stoltzfus
                                                               dollars from the State’s General Fund to support
                                                               organizations created to distribute tuition assistance to
         This bill creates an income tax credit for 75% of     students attending private schools, given that private
         the contributions made by a business or nonprofit     schools are not subject to the same accountability
         organization to an eligible nonprofit organization    standards and regulatory requirements such as special
         that either: (1) provides scholarships to eligible    education laws and teacher certification requirements.
SB 385   students or teachers at a nonpublic K-12 school;      The Board’s 2010 Legislative Program opposes “[a]ny
         or (2) provides grants to (a) public schools to       form of public money going to private schools under
         support innovative educational programs that are      name, such as vouchers, certificates, and
         not part of the regular academic program in order     scholarships…” Last year’s bill had a fiscal note of
         to achieve the goals of the Bridge to Excellence in   approximately $75 million with an approximate
         Public Schools Act of 2002; or (b) public school      additional cost for administrative of $200,000.
         teachers to assist in the cost of graduate-level
         education or certification coursework. The amount
         of credits that the Maryland State Department of
         Education (MSDE) can award in each year cannot
         exceed the amount of money appropriated to a
         reserve fund established by the bill.

              Classroom Placement - Multiple Birth                                      Oppose
                 Children - Parental Discretion
                                                             This bill would authorize the parents of twins, triplets,
         Sponsored by Delegate King
                                                             or quadruplets to determine that their children be
                                                             placed in the same or separate classrooms if the
         This bill prohibits a local board of education from children are in the same grade level at the same school,
         adopting a classroom placement policy that          provided the request is made timely. Only at the end of
         automatically separates or places together multiple the first grading period following enrollment or 60
         birth children. The parent or guardian of multiple  days, if the principal determines that the placement is
         birth children may request that they be placed in   disruptive to the school, may the principal determine
         the same classroom or in separate classrooms. A     otherwise, subject to that determination being appealed.
HB 272   school must honor the requested placement unless However, the children would have to remain in the
         the principal, in consultation with the children’s  parents’ or guardians’ preferred placement during the
         teachers, determines that the requested placement   pendency of the appeal. Our school system tries to
         is disruptive to the school. A school may           accommodate the wishes of parents when it is in the
         recommend the appropriate classroom placement       interest of the children. However, this should not be a
         for multiple birth children or provide professional requirement of law, dictating to principals and schools
         educational advice to assist a parent or guardian   in every school district. Moreover, what may be easy
         regarding placement for multiple birth children.    to accommodate at elementary school is far more
         However, a county board may not adopt a             problematic in middle and high school where schedules
         classroom placement policy of automatically         necessitate a fine balance and blending of availability
         separating or placing together multiple-birth       of courses, taking into account the needs of all students.
         children.                                           The Board opposed this bill the past two years.

                   Fairness in Negotiations Act                                         Oppose
         Sponsored By: Delegates Hixson, Barve,                This bill is the reintroduction of the collective
         Howard, Hucker, Ivey, Kaiser, Mizeur,                 bargaining bill (SB 673) that nearly passed in 2009.
         Olszewski, Rice, Ross, Stukes, and F. Turner          Local boards oppose creating a new labor relations   board and giving it the power to make final and
                                                               potentially binding decisions on contract negotiation
         Adds a new section to the Education Article of the
                                                               disputes that will include pay raises and other costly
         Annotated Code of Maryland to establish as an
HB 243                                                         employment issues, such as more planning time and
         independent unit of State government a Public
                                                               less paperwork. Given the economic climate for the
         School Labor Relations Board to assume specified
                                                               next two years or longer, this bill has the potential to
         duties previously held by the State Board of
                                                               cut programs and lay off other employees to pay for
         Education; requiring the Public School Labor
                                                               any binding decisions by this new labor board.
         Relations Board to hear specified controversies
         and disputes; establishing that specified decisions
         by the Public School Labor Relations Board are


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