The Maryland General Assembly enacted Chapter 288, Acts of 2002 – the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act, which established new primary State education aid formulas based on adequacy cost studies using the professional judgment and successful schools method and other education finance analyses that were conducted in 2000 and 2001 under the purview of the Commission on Education Finance, Equity and Excellence. State funding to implement the Bridge to Excellence Act was phased-in over six years, reaching full implementation in fiscal 2008. Chapter 288 required a follow up study of the adequacy of education funding in the State to be undertaken approximately 10 years after its enactment. The study must include, at a minimum, adequacy cost studies that identify a base funding level for students without special needs and per pupil weights for students with special needs to be applied to the base funding level, and an analysis of the effects of concentrations of poverty on adequacy targets. The adequacy cost study will be based on the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards (MCCRS) adopted by the State Board of Education and include two years of results from new State assessments aligned with the standards, which are scheduled to be administered beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.
There are several additional components mandated to be included in the study. These components include evaluations of: the impact of school size, the Supplemental Grants program, the use of Free and Reduced Price Meal eligibility as the proxy for identifying economic disadvantage, the federal Community Eligibility Program in Maryland, prekindergarten services and funding, the current wealth calculation, and the impact of increasing and decreasing enrollments on local school systems. The study must also include an update of the Maryland Geographic Cost of Education Index.
The Contractor's services will be required through April 30, 2017, which is after the conclusion of the 2017 Session of the Maryland General Assembly.