The Board of Revenue Estimates has found that the state ended Fiscal Year 2013 with $225 million more than previously estimated, thanks to increased revenue collections. The FY13 actual numbers also led the Board to revise projections for FY2014 up another $225 million more than anticipated. Together, the $450 million projection increase provides a significant fund balance to help address both the structural deficit and the budgeting specifically for next year. Since the recession of 2008, the state has been making decisions to cut the budget or increase revenues in order to achieve balance year to year. The improved projections will not solve all of the budget woes from a sluggish economy, but will hopefully relieve some of the pressure to continue a steady diet of cuts that would most likely include K-12 education state aid reductions.
News and Notes
Political Conventions Are Over, but MSEA Was Well-Represented
Last month featured both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. MSEA was proud to have five members as a part of the Maryland delegation in Charlotte, North Carolina. Led by President Betty Weller and immediate past-president Clara Floyd, the MSEA contingent was well-represented in state caucus meetings and on the floor as President Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination in his re-election bid.
No Kid Hungry – Share Our Strength
MSEA has joined Maryland’s Partnership to End Childhood Hunger and will engage members and legislators to fight for resources to expand the school breakfast program and the Maryland Meals for Achievement initiative. MSEA leaders joined with Share Our Strength representatives at an event in Prince George’s County last month to highlight a recent survey which found that three in five public school teachers said they have children in their classrooms who regularly come to school hungry. We know we must reach more students and families with these programs if we are going to have a chance at succeeding in and out of the classroom.
Governor O’Malley to Lead Town Hall at MSEA Convention
On Friday, October 19, Governor Martin O’Malley will lead a town hall discussion about the progress Maryland’s schools have made and the challenges that face educators, students, and communities moving forward. This will be a great opportunity to ask questions and engage in a discussion on the critical issues facing our state, students, and profession. Reserve your seat for the town hall today!
MSEA FUND FOR CHILDREN AND PUBLIC EDUCATION
Check out the new MSEA Fund PAC organizing page. To engage on the issues that matter most for students, schools, and our profession, we need a strong political voice, and that is exactly what the PAC is for our association. Make sure your voice is heard!
From statewide ballot initiatives to races for Congress and School Board, MSEA and our local affiliates are heavily engaged in organizing and supporting political efforts this year. Here is a rundown of important issues and races with information on how to get involved and make a difference this year.
FOR Question 4: Public Institutions of Higher Education – Tuition Rates
Maryland Dream Act(Educating Maryland Kids)
Question 4 and the Maryland Dream Act is about fairness. Supporting Question 4 allows children who graduate from Maryland high schools and whose families have filed income taxes to be eligible to pay in-state tuition rates to attend Maryland colleges. Help MSEA support passage of this ballot measure by volunteering to help us get the word out to members and voters.
FOR Question 6: Civil Marriage Protection Act
Marriage Equality (Marylanders for Marriage Equality)
MSEA supports Question 6 and is working to defend Maryland’s Civil Marriage Equality Law. This issue of equal rights and fairness impacts the lives of MSEA members and students in every school system in the state. MSEA is organizing members interested in this issue to work with the Marriage Equality campaign. Volunteer here.
Educators for Obama
NEA is organizing member-volunteers from Maryland to phonebank and canvass voters in Virginia. You can get involved with the presidential campaign by joining Educators for Obama and look for opportunities to join friends and colleagues in Virginia over the final few weekends of the election.
U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representative Campaigns
MSEA and NEA have coordinated to make recommendations in seven of the eight congressional districts and to re-elect an outstanding friend of public education to the U.S. Senate.
U.S. Senate: Senator Ben Cardin
Cong. District 2: Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger
Cong. District 3: Rep. John Sarbanes
Cong. District 4: Rep. Donna Edwards
Cong. District 5: Rep. Steny Hoyer
Cong. District 6: Mr. John Delaney
Cong. District 7: Rep. Elijah Cummings
Cong. District 8: Rep. Chris Van Hollen
Voter Registration Now Online
Marylanders can now register to vote online. The registration deadline is October 15, 2012. Use and share this online voter registration link with members and their families who may need to register for the first time or update their registration status this year.
Early Voting: Saturday, October 27 – Thursday, November 1
Record turnout is expected this year, making early voting an attractive option to avoid lines on Tuesday, November 6. Early voting runs from October 27-November 1. Early voting centers will be open from 10 am until 8 pm each day of early voting except on Sunday, when early voting centers will be open 12pm to 6pm. Click here to learn more about early voting and to find the early voting centers in your county.