Tag Archives: MSEA

Senate Votes $15 Million in Private School Vouchers

The Maryland Senate tacked in a conservative direction last week when it voted 25-18 to allow corporations to write off their taxes 60% of donations to authorized private school voucher programs. The Department of Commerce can award up to $15 million in credits to qualifying businesses per year.

The Department of Legislative Services estimates that it will cost an additional $140,355 to implement the program and then $108,400 annually to administer it beyond the ongoing $15 million in revenue lost to the State’s General Fund.

Democrats Split

All Senate Republicans voted for the bill. Among Democrats, 19 voted against the bill while 11 supported the legislation. Democrats who voted for the bill are:

Miller (D-27, Prince George’s, Charles and Calvert)
Astle (D-30, Anne Arundel)
Brochin (D-42, Baltimore County)
Currie (D-25, Prince George’s)
DeGrange (D-32, Anne Arundel)
Mathias (D-38, Somerset, Worcester and Wicomico)
McFadden (D-45, Baltimore City)
Middleton (D-28, Charles)
Muse (D-26, Prince George’s)
Peters (D-23, Prince George’s)
Zirkin (D-11, Baltimore County)

The bill is supported by Governor Larry Hogan and Senate President Mike Miller. The Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) strongly opposes it.

Who Will Get the Extra Funding?

The short answer is not the public schools. MSEA also points out that the program allows corporations, rather than parents or school boards, to decide which schools get the donations. It remains unclear whether the money will allow more poor kids to attend private schools, as advocates claim, or help subsidize kids who already attend them at the expense of public schools.

At this point, the bill’s fate is up to the House of Delegates.

 

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MSEA Decries Hogan’s Effort to Shift Public Dollars to Private Schools

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The following is from MSEA’s press release:

MSEA Statement on Gov. Hogan’s 2016 Education Proposals

Proposed BOAST Program Would Divert Taxpayer Dollars From Public Schools to Private Schools

Annapolis, Maryland — This morning, Gov. Hogan’s office released details on his 2016 proposals for education initiatives, including the same BOAST legislation he unsuccessfully introduced last year. Betty Weller, president of the Maryland State Education Association, made the following statement:

“If Gov. Hogan’s goal is to make sure every student has the opportunity to succeed, BOAST (now called the Maryland Education Credit by private school advocates) should have been the last option on his list. It’s a voucher-like scheme designed to move tens of millions of taxpayer dollars from public schools into private schools. Not only does it create new tax breaks for corporations, it would only help students who can already afford to attend private school. It would do nothing for low-income students except make it harder to fund their public schools.

“BOAST is opposed by nearly 60% of Maryland voters—including a plurality of Republicans—at a time when Marylanders believe their public schools need more funding, not less. Support for private school education is a distraction from the larger education issues at hand, like reducing standardized testing, closing opportunity gaps, and increasing public school funding.

“Educators look forward to working with legislators to reject this proposal—and a similar $5 million giveaway proposed in the governor’s budget—and advance effective solutions that truly improve our public schools.”

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MSEA Legislative Endorsements

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Here are the endorsements for the Maryland State Education Association for the General Assembly. As always, I’ve done my best to note non-incumbents in boldface and Republicans with (R). MSEA’s endorsements in Montgomery County (Districts 15-20, 39) are identical to those of MCEA.

District 1
Senate: George Edwards (R)
House: Kevin Kelly (1B), Nick Scarpelli (1C)

District 2
House: Elizabeth Paul (2A)

District 3
Senate: Ron Young
House: Carol Krimm (3A), Karen Lewis Young (3A), Stephen Slater (3B)

District 4
House: Gene Stanton

District 5
House: Haven Shoemaker, Jr. (R)

District 6
Senate: John Olszweski, Jr.
House: Ed Crizer, Eric Washington, Michael Weir

District 7
House: Bob Bowie, Jr., Norman Gifford

District 8
Senate: Kathy Klausmeier
House: Eric Bromwell, Bill Paulshock, Renee Smith

District 9
Senate: Daniel Medinger
House: Trent Kittleman (R-9A), James Morrow (9A), Tom Coale (9B)

District 10
Senate: Delores Kelly
House: Rob Johnson, Adrienne Jones, Carin Smith

District 11
Senate: Robert Zirkin
House: Don Engel, Dan Morhaim, Dana Stein

District 12
Senate: Ed Kasemeyer
House: Brian Bailey, Eric Ebersole, Clarence Lam

District 13
Senate: Guy Guzzone
House: Vanessa Atterbeary, Shane Pendergrass, Frank Turner

District 14
Senate: Karen Montgomery
House: Anne Kaiser, Eric Luedtke, Craig Zucker

District 15
Senate: Brian Feldman
House: Kathleen Dumais, Aruna Miller, Bennet Rushkoff

District 16
Senate: Susan Lee
House: Bill Frick, Hrant Jamgochian, Ariana Kelly

District 17
House: Kumar Barve, Jim Gilchrist, Andrew Platt

District 18
Senate: Rich Madaleno
House: Al Carr, Ana Sol Gutiérrez, Jeff Waldstreicher

District 19
Senate: Roger Manno
House: Bonnie Cullison, Ben Kramer

District 20
Senate: Jamie Raskin
House: Sheila Hixson, David Moon, Will Smith

District 21
Senate: Jim Rosapepe
House: Barbara Frush, Joseline Peña-Melnyk

District 22
Senate: Paul Pinsky
House: Tawanna Gaines, Anne Healey, Alonzo Washington

District 23
Senate: Doug Peters
House: James Hubbard (23A), Marvin Holmes (23B), Joe Vallario (23B)

District 24
Senate: Joanne Benson
House: Erek Barron, Carolyn Howard, Michael Vaughn

District 25
Senate: Ulysses Currie
House: Angela Angel, Darryl Barnes, Dereck Davis

District 26
Senate: Anthony Muse
House: Tamara Brown, Jay Walker

District 27
Senate: Mike Miller
House: James Proctor (27A), Michael Jackson (27B), Sue Kullen (27C)

District 28
Senate: Thomas Middleton
House: Sally Jameson, Candice Quinn Kelly, C.T. Wilson

District 29
Senate: Roy Dyson
House: John Bohanan (29B), Leonard Zuza (29C)

District 30
Senate: John Astle
House: Michael Busch (30A), Maria Triandos (30A)

District 31
House: Stan Janor

District 32
Senate: James DeGrange
House: Pam Beidle, Spencer Dove, Thedore Sophocleus

District 33
Henry Green

District 35
House: David Rudolph (35A)

District 36
House: Alan McCarthy, Irving Pinder, Robert Thornton, Jr.

District 37
House: Sheree Sample-Hughes (37A), Christopher Adams (R-37B), Keasha Haythe (37B)

District 38
Senate: Jim Mathias
House: Percy Purnell, Jr. (38A), Norman Conway (38B), Judy Davis (38C)

District 39
Senate: Nancy King
House: Charles Barkley, Kirill Reznik, Shane Robinson

District 42
Senate: Jim Brochin
House: Stephen Lafferty (42A), Robert Leonard (42B)

District 43
House: Maggie McIntosh

District 44
Senate: Shirley Nathan-Pulliam
House: Aaron Barnett (44B), Rainier Harvey (44B)

District 45
Senate: Nathaniel McFadden
House: Cory McCray

District 46
House: Pete Hammen

District 47
Senate: Victor Ramirez
House: Jimmy Tarlou (47A), Michael Summers (47A)

 

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MCDCC Part III: Renovation or Takeover?

Kunes AlbornozDave Kunes and Gabe Albornoz

Check out Part I and Part II of this four part series on the contretemps at MCDCC.

In the wake of the boycott of the Spring Ball, the Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD) and labor unions started applying pressure for major changes on the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) to include more labor representation and more young people.

The prime movers in this effort appear to be Dave Kunes, Chair of MCYD at age 24, and Gino Renne, MCGEO President. Renne is the most senior of the leaders of the three unions–the others are the FOP and the Firefighters–involved in government operations in Montgomery County.

Labor talked up running an alternative slate for MCDCC. Kunes, who then worked for Del. Tom Hucker and now works for MSEA as well as chairing MCYD, organized a PAC to back candidates for MCDCC. MCGEO donated to the PAC. At this point, perspectives on the story diverge.

No one disagrees on the basic facts, essentially a meeting occurred between MCDCC Chair Gabe Albornoz and others, including Kunes, where they agreed to put together a unity slate that would incorporate significant new members.

It’s the interpretation that varies. Some see Gabe as taking advantage of the situation to renovate a MCDCC in need of new ideas and new blood. Others see it as Gabe suing for peace in order to avoid competing slates and more acrimony within the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

Either way, the result turned out the same. MCDCC set up committees of five people who were not running for MCDCC to interview people for slots on the unity slate. So far, so good.

Except that laudable step was undercut completely by the closed, secret nature of the process. Only certain people, essentially current MCDCC members and selected Young Democrats, were invited to apply. If the goal is truly renovation rather than major change to benefit specifically MCYD and labor, why keep it secret and limit applications?

The people involved may call on Captain Hindsight to lament this approach. Sorry but not buying. They organized it specifically to accomplish their goals. They own it.

Regardless, this lack of transparency and the limited nature of the invitations had the desired effect. Roughly eight members of the unity slate, or one-third of candidates, are young Democrats. As a result, the committee is set to take in a major influx of people who helped place the pressure on MCDCC to change.

Additionally, some changes were further negotiated between the major players behind the scenes after the interviews. In particular, the unity slate dropped Young Democrat Brígida Krzysztofik in favor of Kevin Walling, who had raised money for his delegate race in District 16. Both are LGBT. Krzysztofik was quietly promised that she would get a slot next time.

Some of the unity slate choices make more sense than others. I was surprised to learn that the slate didn’t include Jay Wilson, a very talented, smart Young Democrat and Vice President of the African-American Democratic Club. (I know Jay through his work for a nonprofit that we both support.) Despite passing on Jay, African Americans comprise roughly one-third of the slate.

Most of the retiring members have done so by choice but a few were defenestrated from the slate against their will. The primary example is Harold Diamond, who won a seat in District 19 challenging the slate in 2010, but was not selected for the unity slate.

Diamond chaired both the Ballot Questions Advisory Committee as well as the precinct officials meeting to vote on them. He had the nice sounding but dreadful in practice idea of populating the committee with essentially anyone who volunteered. Not the best means to recruit a group of volunteers who are particularly sensible, representative, or sensitive to the variety of interests and trends within the party.

The meeting of the precinct officials also left several key issues until very late in the evening and Diamond repeatedly tried to steer matters in the direction he favored. No surprise he was left off the slate. Nonetheless, he will be seeking reelection from District 19.

Despite labor’s grievances avowedly being a prime motive for unhappiness with MCDCC, only one of the new members has a direct link to the three governmental unions who were upset with MCDCC–Erin Yeagley works for MCGEO. However, Dave Kunes also works for MSEA and the Young Dems as a group are perceived as labor proxies.

The oddness doesn’t end there. The dispute began because labor was frustrated with the County Council. But MCDCC’s major power is to fill vacancies in the legislature. Vacancies on the County Council are filled by appointment. On the other hand, Gino Renne will likely view it as mission accomplished if he can prevent MCDCC from sending out another sample ballot endorsing a question opposed by organized labor even if unanimously supported by an all-Democratic County Council.

Some view all of this as simply an power play by Dave Kunes supported by the unions. Certainly, the idea that crisis is another word for opportunity has more than a dollop of truth. Nevertheless, harnessing ambition for public goals can be a powerful force for change. Kunes revitalized the Young Democrats and made them a force in the County. Regardless of how it came about, the changes at MCDCC provide a real chance to regenerate the party.

Politics is perhaps the only profession in which people are supposed to loudly protest their lack of ambition or desire for advancement as they move their way up the ladder. So what if ambition played a role in his organization of this renovation/partial takeover? All our officials should be so skilled and talented.

The final part in this series will explore the upcoming election for MCDCC as well as its future.

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