BILL: SB 893
TITLE: Primary and Secondary Education – Concentration of Poverty School
Grant Program – Eligibility
DATE: March 7, 2023
COMMITTEE: Budget and Taxation / Education, Energy, and the Environment
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 Senate Bill 869.
This legislation would accelerate the implementation of Concentration of Poverty Grants. The personnel grants would be fully phased in during the 2024 fiscal year and beyond, providing a personnel grant to schools with 55% of their students qualifying for Free and Reduced Price Meal (FRMP) status. The bill also modifies and accelerates the per pupil grants for concentration of poverty schools by one year in fiscal year 2024 from 70%-65%, for fiscal year 2025; eligibility is adjusted to 60% (from 65%), with full phase-in at 55% in fiscal 2026 and each year thereafter.
PSSAM strongly supports this legislation and applauds the initiative to speed up eligibility for designated “concentration of poverty” schools. These grants are one of the most unique elements established in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. Research has proven that schools with high levels of poverty excel by addressing the entire school’s population, rather than limiting funding and targeting services to students who qualify for FRMP status. The grant is carefully crafted to allow for a year of planning, which includes hiring a community school coordinator with specified qualifications, and providing full-time coverage by at least one health care practitioner. To become eligible for the per pupil funding the year following their eligibility, a school must complete a needs assessment and strategy for implementing the per pupil grants to achieve success within the school.
For these reasons, PSSAM supports Senate Bill 869 and requests a favorable report.