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2016 Legislative Platform
Investing in our Children’s Future
The Montgomery County Board of Education believes that today’s investments in the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) are crucial to a prosperous economy, strong business growth, and students’ ability to compete for good jobs in the global, high-tech economy. School systems must be adequately funded to prepare our youth to support future economic health. We urge you and the entire Maryland General Assembly to remain vigilant against the potential negative impacts of unfunded mandates. These include significant additional workload burdens with no accompanying source of revenue as well as unintended consequences of well-intentioned legislation. We look forward to a successful 2016 Legislative Session in which children’s welfare continues to be paramount.
Long-range Planning and Capacity Issues
MCPS continues to experience a burgeoning increase in enrollment and diversity along racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines. In seven years, from 2007–2014, we have gained 16,107 students. Most of this enrollment increase, 12,361, has occurred in elementary schools, the equivalent of 17 elementary schools. Over the next six years, we anticipate enrolling another 11,526 students! At the same time, we are severely challenged by limited capacity in our school facilities and will have to make significant expenditures in the capital and operating budgets to accommodate these student enrollment increases. Providing adequate school capacity will not be possible given the existing state school construction funding stream. State construction dollars are critical. Over the years, MCPS has sought to balance the fiscal difficulties facing the county with the need to address our overcrowded schools and aging facilities and infrastructure. We are committed to working with our local county government and our local state delegation to address our tremendous needs in the most responsible way possible, while continuing to provide our students with quality learning environments.
Adequacy of Education Funding
The Passage of the Bridge to Excellence in Public Education Act of 2002 (BTE) resulted in a dramatic change to education funding in Maryland. Even during challenging fiscal times, the General Assembly has held the line on education funding. Maryland’s Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirement, along with the BTE funding paradigm, provides assurance that the goals of adequacy, equity, and excellence are met. To keep pace with rising standards for student performance, state aid must be sustained. Additional funding is also necessary to implement Maryland’s prekindergarten for all children initiative and should be on a per pupil basis, without any off-setting reduction in compensatory education funding.
Common Core State Standards
By unanimous vote in June 2010, the Maryland State Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in mathematics and English/language arts (ELA) and literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. These research and evidence-based standards are internationally benchmarked and reflect the knowledge and skills most valued by employers and higher education. The CCSS serve as the foundation for curriculum development and instructional practices designed to ensure all students are prepared for college and careers. This initiative provides a clear understanding and aligns expectations for what each student should know and be able to do at each grade level. The resulting curriculum continues to be a local responsibility (or state-led, where appropriate). MCPS adopted the CCSS and continues to align and refine curriculum across all grade levels. As these standards are being implemented across Maryland and within our school district, we must ensure that this is not an unfunded mandate and that resources are available to continue the work to provide students opportunities to achieve the underlying goals and objectives.