I am a firm believer in public schools. Not only are they a place for children to be educated and to grow, but they are the center of a community.
District 16 has wonderful schools. But we also have our challenges. MCPS is the largest school system in Maryland - the 14th largest in the country - and we are growing by 2,500 students a year. MCPS has a large number of FARMS (31.5%) and ESOL (14.2%) students, as well as 11.7% of our students receiving special education services.
I have spent years fighting for our school system. I fought against vouchers and for full funding of our schools; against the school-to-prison pipeline and for students' First Amendment rights. As your Delegate, I will continue to champion our public schools and our students.
Continued to invest in education and those who work in education:
• HB 277/SB 234: Purple Star School Program. This legislation establishes the Purple Star Schools Program. This will provide students from military families with better support and stability when they have to change schools. The Purple Star Schools Program is administered by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and recognizes public schools that provide strong services and support for military-connected students and their families when students transfer schools as a result of a parent or guardian’s military service.
• HB 734: Maryland Student Investment Act. House Bill 734 expands access to higher education. It makes college more affordable for Maryland students by increasing funding to the State’s financial aid programs. It also improves the Guaranteed Access Grant so that grant recipients who become ineligible due to an income change will remain eligible for the full award under certain conditions.
• HB 1163/SB 362: Virtual Education. This legislation equips the state for high-quality virtual education when a transition to remote learning is required and puts guardrails in place for existing virtual education raising the standard for these programs. It also requires the Department of Education to study best practices for virtual education and develop criteria for the establishment of virtual schools. The bill also requires local school boards to have a plan in place should they need to transition to virtual education for an extended period of time.
• HB 1290: Public School Construction Funding. This legislation establishes legislative intent that the State should invest up to $450 million per year to maintain a stable number of funded public school construction projects, mandates certain spending for construction loans, and adjusts the cost share between the State and local jurisdictions in certain circumstances.
• HB 1349/SB 831: Education Support Professionals - Bonus and Report. Gives a cash bonus to our food service workers, TA’s, student advocates, and other education support professionals for the next two years.
• HB 1444: Income Tax Credit - Endowments of Maryland Historically Black Colleges – Extension. Repeals the sunset on the tax credit on the endowments of Maryland’s HBCUs so the tax credit can continue to support Maryland’s HBCUs, help them recover from the pandemic, and allow them to provide more scholarships to students.
• HB 1450: Blueprint for Maryland's Future Alterations. House Bill 1450 adjusts the Blueprint’s implementation plan to better align with the formation of the Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB). The bill extends the dates for when the AIB must adopt a Comprehensive Implementation Plan (CIP) for the Blueprint and extends the dates for when the plans should be approved. The bill also dedicates a certain percentage of sales and use tax revenues to the Blueprint’s funding.
• HB 1469: Maggie McIntosh Art Fund. House Bill 1469 establishes the Maggie McIntosh Arts Fund to provide grants to help Baltimore City public schools purchase art supplies for their classrooms. The Maggie McIntosh School Arts Fund is a special fund administered by Arts Every Day to provide grants to specified schools in Baltimore City and must be used to expand the arts curriculum for students in schools in Baltimore City that are eligible for concentration of poverty grants (CPGs). Beginning in fiscal 2023, $250,000 annually must be allocated from the remaining money in the State Lottery Fund after other specified distributions are made.
• SB 4: Cybersecurity Scholarship Program Improvements This bill expands the Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship Program by allowing part-time students to apply under certain conditions. It increases the number of years an individual may hold an award; and expands the positions that fulfill the program’s work and teaching obligations.
* Overrode the Governor's Veto of the Blueprint for Maryland's Future (2020)(HB 1300). The Blueprint (also known as the Kirwan Recommendations) is a transformational education plan based on five pillars:
* As a result, the Built to Learn Act of 2020 (HB 1) went into effect. This is the largest one-time school construction investment in Maryland history.
* Passed the Blueprint 2.0 (HB 1372). After a year of distance-learning due to COVID-19 school closures, a growing number of students are falling further behind. The Blueprint Revision bill includes needed fixes to education funding that were exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and:
Provides more support to address learning loss;
Expands behavioral and mental health resources;
Closes the digital divide with more access to broadband and devices; and
Requires better reporting and data tracking for more accountability.
* Passed early and overwhelmingly, HB 1 (2021), funding for Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), was already signed into law by the Governor. While the State has increased operating and capital funding to the HBCUs over the past decade, additional investment is needed to increase the availability of new and distinct programming to attract more students to HBCUs. HB 1 provides $577M to settle a decade-long lawsuit and level the playing field for all students – regardless of their background, race, or the college they attend.
* Increased support of special education through HB 1365, which increases funding for Nonpublic Special Education Schools – schools that provide special education for public-school-funded children who cannot receive an appropriate education in public school.
"Congratulations on your Apple Ballot Recommendation! We are pleased to be able to stand with you as Election Day approaches."MCEA believes that public education is the foundation of a strong and thriving community, and is accomplished through:
"Your ideas and past work gives us the confidence that you will be a terrific Delegate. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to the citizens of Montgomery County."
- LeeAnn Kaye, Political Action Chair, MCPSRA