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HB 1082 Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Implementation – Funding and Independent Evaluation – Alterations (Crossover)

BILL: HB 1082

TITLE: Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Implementation – Funding and 

Independent Evaluation – Alterations

DATE: March 26, 2024

POSITION: Support

COMMITTEE: Senate Budget and Taxation Committee

CONTACT: Mary Pat Fannon, Executive Director, PSSAM

 

The Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland (PSSAM), on behalf of all twenty-four public school superintendents, supports House Bill 1082.


This bill would provide a $150,000 State grant to each Local Education Agency for each fiscal year for the salary and benefits for Blueprint Implementation Coordinators (IC) in each Local Education Agency (LEA). The bill also extends the date for an independent evaluation of the implementation of the Blueprint.  


In the final version of the Blueprint legislation (HB 1300/2020), the Legislature required each local governing body and the LEA to jointly designate a Blueprint Implementation Coordinator for each district. This position was required through fiscal 2025, which was subsequently changed to fiscal 2026 during the 2021 session (HB 1372). The IC position was also mandated without an identified funding source. Lastly, the position was to be created by July 1, 2021 and all LEA were in compliance within one or two months of that deadline. 

In July of 2021, the role of the coordinators was unclear, and many districts assigned this responsibility to existing staff. Now, two and a half years later, many of the coordinators are still wearing multiple hats in their districts, and have significant responsibilities in addition to the Blueprint work. This is especially challenging in smaller districts with fewer staff and resources. For example, among the ICs there are Chief Financial Officers, Chiefs of Staff, Chief Academic Officers, Directors of Assessment and Reporting, and Chief Innovation Officers.


PSSAM started convening the ICs in 2021 with monthly implementation and planning meetings. As the AIB was named, and the new State Superintendent was settling in, implementation began in earnest. Last year at this time, we calculated ICs required attendance at roughly 71 meetings; since last year, we have easily doubled that amount and are only calculating obligations at the state level; local outreach and implementation efforts likely rival those figures. Implementation Coordinators have been responsible for dozens of mandated reports to the State, as well as presentations and training sessions within their districts and to the public. The commitment to the Blueprint work has been immense and led by the ICs and their superintendents. 


The designation of ICs has created an equity issue between small and large systems. Even after adjusting for the enrollment of the districts -- the planning and implementation requirements are the same – whether you are a district with 200,000 or 2,000 students. As we have moved through the initial two years of the Blueprint, it is exceptionally clear that these ICs are integral for implementation with fidelity. We recognize that many staff in our districts are overworked and overburdened, but we feel it is appropriate to request a carve-out for the salaries of the ICs, especially since the General Assembly mandated the position. We believe a line item in the budget would provide an equitable funding opportunity for all districts to hire and employ a full-time IC for successful implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.


For these reasons, PSSAM supports House Bill 1082 and requests a favorable committee report.

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