As BluePrint for Maryland’s Future approaches, Dorchester County Public Schools react to potential changes
MARYLAND- School districts across Maryland are less than a month away from submitting their final plans for the Blueprint for Maryland’s future education overhaul, with Dorchester County holding its final public session on the implementation, and how it fits in the county’s master plan on Thursday night.
The meeting saw members of the community and the district work through how the 4 Pillars of the Maryland Blueprint, including career and job readiness, expanded Pre-K, Mental Health resources for students, and commitments to raising teacher wages would work in the district.
“They get to roll their sleeves up and be part of the process and we have just a myriad of notes from the meetings,” said DCPS Superintendent Dave Bromwell.
Bromwell says they are already well suited for pillar one of the blueprint, the expansion to universal pre-k childhood learning, but they are still running into some challenges they didn’t expect in figuring out how to match the program to the implementations laid out in the blueprint.
“How is the three-year-old going to ride a school bus to get to school while it’s a great idea to have the begin the school process how can we do that,” Bromwell said adding that the district also needs to buy new furniture to accommodate three-year-olds and have additional restrooms that they could use as part of classrooms.
He says those challenges, are expensive, and currently, the blueprint has the districts themselves slated to pick up the tab for many of the changes needed.
“In theory the blueprint is awesome, no one is arguing against these improvements for students, but as the community has been attending these meetings what is concerning about it they start to realize is, the teachers we have, we need more, we need more partners in the school, where is this money going to come from,” Bromwell said.
But the answer to that question could soon be changing, as the State Superintendent of Schools is expected to announce a push to change the funding formula for State Schools that has gone unchanged since the 80s according to Bromwell, through in instrument known as a Poverty Index.
Bromwell tells 47ABC that while it is uncertain which Data the Index would look at, he believes there is a chance that poorer counties in the state, including Dorchester, would be able to get additional state funds to help implement things such as a path to a $60,000 starting salary for teachers.
He says currently that funding would have to come from County Councils.
“They are paying for roads, for police for fire, it’s a huge hole that has been blown up in these budgets,” he said adding “We are seeing right now there is still some inequity and the poverty index proposal is pretty impressive in addressing that, but again where does the money come from, taxpayers in Maryland.”
The State Superintendent does not currently have the ability to change the funding formula without going to the legislature to seek a bill to re-write the guidance for the state.
Bromwell tells 47ABC that no bill has yet to be introduced by either Republicans or Democrats, but he does expect the State Superintendent to unveil the plan to a group of all County-wide Superintendents on Friday.