Presiding Officers Appoint Members to Blueprint Accountability Board Nominating Committee

    The presiding officers of the General Assembly announced their appointments to the Blueprint for Maryland Future’s Accountability and Implementation Board Nominating Committee on Wednesday.

    Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan (R) has not yet announced his two nominees.

    Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) appointed Sen. Paul Pinsky (D-Prince George’s), chair of the Senate’s Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, and Shanaysha Sauls, the president and CEO of the Baltimore Community Foundation.

    “Chair Pinsky and Dr. Sauls have long been leaders in the fight for educational equity here in Maryland,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Both Chair Pinsky and Dr. Sauls have vast experience as educators, policymakers, and experts in effectively serving students and families. They understand the leadership that will be required to implement the Blueprint with fidelity and will play an invaluable role in ensuring the right people are selected for the AIB.”

    House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) chose Franchesca Brown, principal of Woodmoor Elementary School in Baltimore County, and Cheryl Bost, the president of the Maryland State Education Association, the largest teachers union in the state, for the nominating committee.

    “The success of the Kirwan Commission was based on a diversity of voices and ideas about how best to serve every student in every zip code in Maryland,” Jones said in a statement. “Cheryl and Franchesca bring great experience to nominate people to support our student’s improved success to be able to compete in a global economy.”

    The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future is a sweeping education reform bill that passed the General Assembly last year but was vetoed by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan (R), who cited financial concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic. The General Assembly overrode Hogan’s veto this year, enacting the landmark legislation into law.

    The Blueprint includes a seven-member Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB), an independent unit of State government responsible for holding the state and school districts accountable for implementing the Blueprint. The governor must appoint members to the AIB from the nine candidates selected by the six-member nominating committee.

    The AIB is responsible for developing a statewide comprehensive plan to guide reforms and approve county-level implementation plans. It also has the power to withhold 25% of new state funding from counties each fiscal year until the board approves a county’s progress toward implementing reform.

    By July 1, each county board of education must report to the AIB on how it will spend any funding retained for the implementation of the Blueprint in fiscal year 2022.

    Lawmakers also passed the “Blueprint 2.0” bill this year, which adjusts the timeline for reforms and aims to address the learning loss that occurred during the coronavirus pandemic. “Blueprint 2.0” also clarified that the AIB has authority over the Maryland State Department of Education, if they ever come into conflict.

    The complementary bill requires the governor to appoint members to the AIB Nominating Committee within 30 days from the time that both presiding officers make their nominations.

    If Hogan fails to act within that time frame, the nominating committee can move ahead with nominating members to the AIB with majority vote of the four members appointed by the presiding officers.

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    Elizabeth Shwe
    Shwe covered California state politics during her internship at The Sacramento Bee. She is a 2020 graduate of Princeton University with a degree in political science. At Princeton she was a producer for WPRB 103.3 FM News & Culture section, the station’s only long form podcast-type program. Shwe also wrote for The Daily Princetonian, and tutored with the Petey Greene Program, which offers free tutoring to incarcerated people. Shwe is a Report for America corps member.