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2015 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 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 2014 legislative season in which children’s welfare continues to be paramount.

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 evidenced by having annually provided $5.7 billion in education aid since 2008. 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.

Supplementing your previously legislated requirement to study Maryland’s adequacy of education funding with a “Blue Ribbon Commission” will be critical to ensuring our schools remain the best in the nation. The historical legacy of support for quality education for Montgomery County Public Schools is greatly appreciated and we pledge to continue to work cooperatively with our county partners.

Long-Range Planning and Capacity Issues

MCPS continues to experience a burgeoning increase in enrollment and diversity along racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines. In six years, we have gained 14,000 mostly elementary students, the equivalent of 17 elementary schools and over the next 10 years we anticipate enrolling another 11,000 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. State construction dollars are critical and providing adequate school capacity will not be possible given the existing state school construction funding stream. 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 an adequate learning environment.

Common Core State Standards

Governor Martin O’Malley and former State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick committed Maryland to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). This initiative provides a clear understanding and expectation of what each student should learn and master as well as the basis for developing a set of standards that are common across states. The resulting curriculum continues to be a local responsibility (or state-led, where appropriate). MCPS has already implemented a curriculum aligned with the CCSS. At the same time, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is developing new assessments that will be aligned with the CCSS and are anticipated to be implemented in Maryland in the 2014-15 school year, at which time it will replace the Maryland School Assessments (MSA). The misalignment of the CCSS and the MSA, which will yet again be administered during the 2013-2014 school year, continues to be an issue of great concern and any delay in the roll out of the PARCC now has implications for aspects of the College and Career Readiness Act of 2013. Additionally, as the CCSS 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 bring to fruition the goals and objectives of these standards.

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