DeVos approves Maryland school accountability plan

Maryland will begin grading all its public schools on a five-star rating system this year under a sweeping rewrite of how schools are held accountable. The new system is part of a plan approved Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education. Secretary Betsy DeVos’s final approval of Maryland’s plan — and those of 10 other states — came after a tug of war between the Maryland legislature on one side and Gov. Larry Hogan and the state school board on the other. (Balt. Sun)

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Education advocates object to proposed budget cuts in MCPS central services

Students and education advocates on Tuesday night argued against budget cuts to offices supporting accelerated instruction and English learners and asked for more funding for counseling services. The Montgomery County Board of Education held its second public hearing on Superintendent Jack Smith’s proposed $2.59 billion budget plan for the school system. Overall, Smith’s budget would boost spending by about 2.7 percent compared to the prior year and includes new investment in dual-language programs and career learning opportunities. (Bethesda)

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Maryland education numbers bode well for WCPS budget

Needing to fill a $5 million revenue gap in next fiscal year's budget, Washington County Public Schools officials were greeted with good news from the state level Wednesday. Newly released state figures show that the county school system would receive nearly $105.5 million in baseline funding, an increase of about $2.1 million over the current year's $103.3 million, according to Gov. Larry Hogan's proposed fiscal 2019 budget. (Herald-Mail)

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Strategic plan, measures of success discussed at Board of Education work session

The Carroll County Public Schools system has dedicated teachers, high graduation rates, a well-regarded Tech Center and a number of opportunities, but struggles with retaining and paying those teachers, making logical financial choices and with communication, according to feedback gathered from the community and key stakeholder groups. This information moves the CCPS Board of Education one step closer to setting its next strategic plan, something Superintendent Stephen Guthrie said Wednesday will likely be out in draft form for public review in the next few months. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Recent Middletown graduate files for Board of Education

Just to be clear, Camden Raynor does not want to be the county executive. A computer error with the state’s Board of Elections website originally listed Raynor as a Democratic candidate for county executive, Raynor said. It later said Raynor withdrew his candidacy. “I’m not sure why that happened, but I have no desire to run for county executive,” Raynor said. “I want to run for the Board of Education. ... I am also fervently unaffiliated.” Raynor, a 19-year-old junior at the University of Maryland, College Park, on Tuesday became the third person to file as a candidate for the Board of Education. (News-Post)

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As questions swirl around search for a Howard County high school site, a third property is studied

The county’s search for the site of its next high school remained in the spotlight last week as word spread that the school board had dropped Jessup’s Mission Road site as an option, only to announce its reconsideration days later, and as County Executive Allan Kittleman announced he wanted to consider space at Troy Park in Elkridge. Board of Education Chairwoman Cindy Vaillancourt said board members have additional questions they would like to have answered about the Mission Road property before they can make a decision about its suitability for the county’s 13th high school, needed to relieve crowding at other schools. (Ho. Co. Times)

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Officials: Washington County Public Schools health insurance pool rebound continues

Since a 25-percent rate hike was levied, Washington County Public Schools' health insurance pool has responded nicely, netting a profit of nearly $2.8 million over the first two quarters of the current fiscal year, according to district officials. The school system began the fiscal year July 1, 2017, with a deficit in its health care fund balance of about $4.1 million, but that figure has been reduced to about $1.3 million. (Herald-Mail)

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Snow days force changes to Maryland school calendars

Persistent cold that has enveloped Baltimore, combined with repeated winter storms over the first three weeks of January, has forced school systems around Maryland to rearrange calendars to adjust for multiple snow days. Every school in the Baltimore area has closed for at least two inclement weather days so far this winter. Districts across Maryland already had to crunch their calendars this year because of Gov. Larry Hogan’s 2016 mandate that all public schools start after Labor Day and end by June 15. (Balt. Sun)

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