2016 Maryland Statewide Legislative Update
The Maryland General Assembly adjourned on April 11, 2016.
Three new bills directly impact Maryland's Afterschool Landscape
in FY2017 and beyond:
Sponsored by Delegate Reznick, District 39 Montgomery County
Establishing the Robotics Grant Program to provide grants to public schools and nonprofit robotics clubs in the State to support existing robotics programs and to increase the number of programs in the State; establishing eligibility requirements for the Program; requiring the Governor to include in the State budget an appropriation of at least $250,000 to the Program; requiring the State Department of Education to implement and administer the Program; and authorizing the Department to adopt specified regulations.
Delegate Mary Washington, District 43-Baltimore City sponsor of HB 1139 shared the following in her End of Session Letter:
"Community schools have been documented to successfully tackle educational achievement gaps associated with high and concentrated levels of poverty. That’s why I’ve been working to increase the number of public schools utilizing that strategy in Maryland, and why I sponsored HB 1139, The Maryland Community School Strategy for Educational Excellence Act.
As it was originally proposed, HB 1139 would have made public schools across Maryland eligible for additional resources if they chose to adopt the community schools strategy. By the end of a three-year phase-in period, any Maryland public school with 40% or more enrolled students qualifying for free and reduced-price meals (FARMs) would have been eligible. In total, 833 schools across every county and school district in Maryland would have qualified to receive a 25% increase in their compensatory education funding, meaning that there would have been over $500 million in potential additional public education funding. It was a grand vision for transforming public education, and I plan to pursue it again in the future. As amended and passed by the House and Senate, the mandated increased funding was removed from HB 1139. However, the Maryland State Department of Education is now required to notify local school systems and community schools that federal Title I funds can be used to fund community school coordinators. It also requires the Department to encourage and provide technical support to public school systems and individual qualifying schools to apply for Title IV funding to implement the community schools strategy.
While it was not everything we wanted, this legislation does move us in the right direction. It recognizes the importance of utilizing community schools as a strategy for addressing concentrated poverty throughout the state."
MOST Network sees this as a big leap forward for statewide policy around Community Schools – including afterschool as a central component.
Sponsored by Senator Ferguson, District 46-Baltimore City
While recognizing MOST Network as the arbiter of "what is quality" for afterschool and community schools, this bill repeals the Maryland Afterschool and Summer Opportunity Fund (MASOF) to establish the Public School Opportunities Enhancement Program by providing grants to local school systems, community schools, and nonprofit organizations in the State to assist in expanding or creating extended day and summer enhancement programs and to expand and support educational programs during the school day for specified organizations; requiring the Governor, for fiscal years 2018 through 2021, to include $7,500,000 annually in the State budget for the program.
Maryland Local Legislative Updates
MOST Network Director, Ellie Mitchell and two Baltimore afterschool providers were on WYPR, Baltimore's Public Radio Station to talk about the 4.2 million dollars in cuts the Mayor made to the FY2017 city budget for afterschool and community school programs.
Listen here: http://wypr.org/post/budget-cuts-youth-programs
Rec and Parks Deputy Director Stork Visits Capitol as Afterschool Ambassador
Afterschool supporters from Maryland recentlyspent the day on Capitol Hill, where they met with Members of Congress, includingstaff from the offices of Representative Andy Harris and Senator Barbara Mikulski as well as other lawmakers from Maryland to discuss the unmet need for more funding for afterschool programs. The visit was part of the annual Afterschool for All Challenge, sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance.
Kat Stork, Deputy Director of Caroline County Recreation & Parks declared the visit a “terrific opportunity to inform our elected officials about the ways afterschool programs support children and families.” Stork serves as an Afterschool Ambassador for the national Afterschool Alliance, spending time working with local, state and federal lawmakers and their staff to help them better understand the importance of out of school programs in communities like Caroline County.
On Capitol Hill, Stork joined an eight person Maryland team of afterschool program providers and advocates who visited as many Maryland lawmakers. Also from the Eastern Shore were Tammy Shay, Director of Programs, Policy and Communications for the Maryland Out of School Time Network and a resident of Queen Anne County and Mathew Peters, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, which provide afterschool programming in Talbot County. Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant also visited lawmakers with the Maryland contingent.
“Afterschool programs provide a critical service to families and communities across the country,” said Grant. “But they face a very real funding challenge on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress need to hear about the great work being done in afterschool keeping kids safe and engaged in hands-on learning activities. That’s the best way to remind them that we need to keep these programs going, and to grow the federal contribution to afterschool. We think afterschool advocates sent a clear and convincing message this week — one that will be hard to ignore.”
The goal of the visits on Capitol Hill was to educate lawmakers about the unmet need for afterschool programs as they set priorities for federal funding.
Kat Stork, Caroline County Recreation & Parks Deputy Director and national Afterschool Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance on right was joined by Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant (Center) and Maryland Out of School Time Network Programs, Policy & Communications Tammy Shay (left)
In addition to meeting with members of the House and Senate, Stork participated in a panel presentation before more than 50 afterschool providers and advocates. The presentation, “Taking a Close Look at Afterschool in Rural America,” highlighted local, state and national organization perspectives on the need for and the hurdles to providing high quality afterschool in rural communities. Stork was joined by Rich Blan, National Director, Policy, Advocacy and development, Save the Children, and Rachel Willis, Research Project Coordinator, Kansas Enrichment Network/Center for Public Partnerships and Research.
In Caroline County federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants support afterschool and summer programs at Federalsburg, Denton and Greensboro Elementary Schools. Approximately 300 Caroline County students benefit from these programs but there are other families and students in in Caroline County, across Maryland and the nation who cannot access afterschool programs either because of a lack of available programming or prohibitive costs. The Afterschool Alliance is urging Congress to increase funding for afterschool programs.
“The Afterschool for All Challenge was a great experience,” said Stork. “It was encouraging to meet with so many other committed afterschool providers and to be reminded about the reach of the afterschool movement. Every day, here and at programs across the nation, afterschool programs are helping families and communities by keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families. Staff for Senator Barbara Mikulski said she would continue to support funding for afterschool, and we were very glad to hear it.”
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