And other legislative updates in this week’s Up the Street
THIS WEEK IN ANNAPOLIS
Educators and lawmakers testify to raise salaries for education support professionals
On Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, the Senate Budget and Taxation and House Ways and Means committees had education support professionals, state and local leaders, and education supporters testifying in in favor of Senate Bill 831 and House Bill 1349 to address the crisis of education support professionals. (ESP) staffing and remuneration. Sponsored by Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Sen. Craig Zucker (D-Montgomery), SB831 takes a short-term and long-term approach to the need to raise ESP salaries. The cross-legislation, HB1349, is sponsored by delegate Shaneka Henson (D-Anne Arundel).
A crisis exists in the recruitment and retention of ESPs, who are essential to the day-to-day running of classroom instruction, whether they drive buses, prepare and serve meals, assist in the classroom, maintain buildings and technology, hold registers and implement protocols, or one of the many other essential roles they fulfill. In the short term, the legislation would give support staff bonuses of $500 in FY23 and FY24, and for long-term progress, it would establish a task force to explore the best ways to improve support staff salaries and make recommendations to the General Assembly for future legislation. . MSEA would have a seat on the working group.
During the hearings, ESPs across the state shared details about the severe hardships they or their peers are experiencing: the need to work two or three jobs, loss of housing, chronic financial instability and inability to retire safely. MSEA President Cheryl Bost testified in support of the bills.
U.S. House Majority Leader Representative Steny Hoyer (D-5th) wrote to committees: “Given the vital role [ESPs] play in raising children, we should be doing more to ensure they receive the pay and benefits they have earned through their hard work.
In addition to the workers themselves, those who testified in favor included Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, Democratic gubernatorial candidate John King, Shannon Sneed, Lieutenant Governor Tom Perez’s pick, Lt. – governor chosen by Wes Moore and former delegate Aruna Miller, and lobbyists from the Maryland Association. educational advice.
“We’re on the front lines in our buildings and our districts’ foundations, but we’re paid dramatically different than our co-workers,” said Stacy Tayman, an ESP with 25 years of service in Calvert County Public Schools. She explained that she will be eligible but will not be able to retire in December 2024 after nearly 30 years of contributing to the state pension system. “And I’m currently delivering groceries in my spare time just to make ends meet.”
Click here to contact your legislators and urge them to support this legislation to increase ESP wages. To participate in a virtual lobbying party next Monday for this important bill, click here.
House Bill 1450 addresses timeline caused by Governor Hogan’s delays
House Bill 1450, sponsored by Delegate Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City), chair of the House Appropriations Committee and a strong supporter of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, would address some of the obstacles Governor Hogan used to hinder the Blueprint. The legislation is needed because of the delay in setting up the Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB), which was caused by Hogan’s slow efforts to appoint AIB members last fall and fund responsibility-based advice. The legislation would give the AIB and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) more time to write their respective comprehensive implementation plans, which the Blueprint programs will follow over the next decade.
Under the legislation, the deadline for the AIB to adopt its global plan will be 1 December instead of 15 February 2022; for MSDE to develop criteria for local school system implementation plans, the deadline would be September 1 instead of April 1. Local school systems and government agencies should submit their Blueprint implementation plans to AIB by March 15, 2023 instead of June 2022.
The legislation also responds to a request from Comptroller Peter Franchot to simplify the distribution of certain sales tax revenues to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund (BMFF). The bill would establish that after making certain other distributions, the comptroller would pay BMFF certain percentages of the remaining sales and use the tax proceeds: 12.3% for FY23, 12.5% for FY24, 12.9% for Fiscal Year 25, 13.3% for Fiscal Year 26, and 13.8% for Fiscal Year 27 and each subsequent fiscal year.
Funding for master plan not optional, says attorney general
The Attorney General’s office ruled against Hogan in his claim that when he wrote his budget for fiscal year 23, he could not reasonably have estimated that $99 million for the city of Baltimore and $26.5 million dollars for Prince George’s County should be included to help them implement the master plan. After the MSEA, the Blueprint Coalition, lawmakers and other advocates publicly called for the funding, Hogan submitted a supplemental budget that included the Blueprint funding he had omitted.
NEWS AND NOTES
Teachers can vote for state board representative: McCusker has MSEA endorsement
Voting is open until March 13 to elect a teacher to the State Board of Education (SBOE). The MSEA Board of Trustees has unanimously endorsed Rachel McCusker, music teacher at Carroll County Elementary School, for re-election as teacher representative. In a position that MSEA fought to create, McCusker served as the first-ever teacher representative on the SBOE. She joined MSEA President Bost for a Facebook Live recorded on the MSEA page on Monday, and her achievements and priorities were featured in a recent MSEA edition Line of action. All Maryland teachers who hold an active Maryland Educator Certificate with at least one teaching area as of January 1, 2022 are eligible to vote in elections here. Further details are available on the Maryland State Department of Education website.
Positive State Revenue Report Makes Room for New Spending and State Gas Tax Relief
The Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates voted Thursday to raise revenue projections for fiscal year 2022 to $22.5 billion, an increase of $867 million from December estimates. The Board, made up of Comptroller Franchot, Treasurer Dereck Davis and Budget Secretary David Brinkley, also adjusted the official revenue forecast for fiscal year 2023 upwards by an additional $737 million to $23.6 billion. The increase is largely attributable to higher personal and corporate income tax collections and higher sales tax revenues.
The news was quickly followed by suggestions from Governor Franchot and Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) to temporarily suspend the state tax. on gasoline. Franchot and Hogan called for a three-month pause while Ferguson and Jones suggested a 30-day suspension of gasoline tax collection to relieve the pressure of high gasoline prices exacerbated by the Russian invasion from Ukraine.
Casino turnover up in February; $163 million means $50 million for education
According to Maryland Lottery and Gaming, casino gaming revenue in February increased by nearly $37 million (29.1%) compared to February 2021, when casinos operated with capacity restrictions due to the pandemic. Contributions from casino gaming revenue last month totaled $68.2 million, including $49.6 million for the education trust fund.
Advertising expenses in the race for governor; Moore, Edwards earn endorsements
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore announced a six-figure network television ad buy starting Wednesday in the Baltimore and Washington, DC media markets. Moore also received an endorsement from Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. In the crowd 4and US House district race, former Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D) announced the support of some of her former congressional colleagues, Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon), David Cicilline (DR.I.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Robin Kelly (D-Ill.).