District 4 Commissioner Mike Guerin Releases Statement Regarding BluePrint
As the Carroll County FY 25 budget process begins, I wanted to share my personal thoughts on Maryland Blueprint (MDB). It is my view that the implementation of MDB will not improve public education in Maryland and instead accelerate its decline. Governor Moore has yet to display any leadership on this or any other issue so our only hope is that the MD General Assembly listens to the growing chorus of concerns and takes action to delay implementation and drastically change the scope of this initiative. Opposition seems to be slowly forming from across the state but true action may necessitate organized protest in Annapolis. If you pay property taxes in Maryland you are funding the education system so this issue is not just for parents.
Strategy: There will be several counties that can “afford” MDB and still others that would not hesitate to tax residents even more than they already do. I will oppose the latter. I will not be voting to pay for something that will harm CCPS, that no one voted for, and is not needed. But simply stating that Carroll County “can’t afford MDB” may not resonate with all counties, and may not result in the coalition we need. What many counties seem to agree on is that home rule is important to them. In coming up with a strategy that many counties could get behind it became clear that we need to move away from the issue of taxes and focus on;
1) The issue of home-rule and self-government
2) The harm MDB will do to our county and others
3) The dysfunction of the MDSE
4) The fiscal “straight-jacket” that MDB puts local government in
5) Highlight how MDB is a “one size fits all” solution to 23 very different counties and Baltimore City
The technical details. These six provisions (so far) require the most attention/correction;
1) The 60/40 class-prep requirement could necessitate the hiring of 100-150 additional teachers to the CCPS. Currently the class-prep ratio is 75/25.
2) Mandatory compensatory education aka FARM requirements will tie up approx. $30M. Our FARM program is small…but $30M will need to be used as mandated by the MSDE.
3) The Vice Principals will be required to teach 20% of the time…this is ridiculous.
4) The MD college system will not be able to keep up with the 1,000s of teachers that will be needed to reach MDB’s “goals.” Are they taking any steps to meet this demand?
5) No “phase 1” metrics…how do you measure success or failure?
6) No care or regard for class sizes. Class size has always been the battle cry for educators and unions…now it no longer matters?
As an elected official, MD Blueprint (MDB) may become the defining moment for many of us over the next few years. I feel that it will not only test our resolve, but our ability to unite in common opposition to what is an egregious and unfounded overreach by the state. MDB will harm CCPS which is already one of the best school districts in the state.
Lastly, thank you for your courage and leadership…they will always be in short supply. We face many challenges and it’s not going to get any easier.
Michael R. Guerin
District 4 Commissioner
Carroll County, MD, USA