Monitor implementation of Blueprint for Maryland’s Future and advocate for addressing Baltimore-specific needs.
The League of Women Voters of Baltimore City is a member of the Coalition for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which was formed in 2020 to advocate for legislation based on recommendations of the Commission On Innovation and Excellence in Education (Kirwan Commission). The Coalition included more than 50 organizations from across Mayland.
In 2020, the General Assembly passed The Blueprint for Mayland’s Future, which, among other provisions, adopted a new funding formula that increased the foundation formula and the funding weights for English learners, special education students, and compensatory education. It also created a new calculation for concentrated poverty that can be used to support Community Schools. However, Governor Hogan vetoed the legislation in May 2020.
The work of the Coalition then shifted to securing a veto override and ensuring that the General Assembly adopted a Blueprint “technical” bill. Both goals were accomplished. The Blueprint 2.0 modifies implementation timelines, updates funding allocations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, establishes guidelines for use of federal CARES funds, and strengthens the language of the Blueprint. The Blueprint 2.0, in a few highlights:
- Increases foundational per-pupil funding to address technology needs, including broadband, devices, and IT staff. Amount progressively increases from $7,991/student in 2022 to $12,365/student in 2033.
- Provides immediate access to Judy Center funding for early education, which increased from $275,000 to $330,00.
- Speeds up the timeline for delivery of per-pupil grants for community schools that qualify for a Concentration of Poverty Grant.
- Eliminates enrollment data for the 2020-21 year from funding formula calculations to account for unusual enrollment numbers during the COVID - 19 pandemic.
The League also supported the Digital Connectivity Act of 2021, which establishes the Office of Digital Inclusion and creates a digital inclusion fund to support capacity building and funding for broadband access in all 24 Maryland jurisdictions. The League has consistently opposed bills designed to transfer public money to private schools. Efforts to reduce funding for BOOST (Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today) failed. BOOST provides scholarships for eligible students to attend nonpublic schools. The final budget included $10 million for BOOST scholarships.
Action - Based on national and state positions, support programs for residents’ education and participation in activities to strengthen democratic processes, especially as they relate to underserved areas in the city.