After Jordan McNair's death, Maryland lawmakers seek overhaul of university system's Board of Regents

Arguing state higher education officials placed athletics over academics last year following the death of football player Jordan McNair, some lawmakers in Annapolis are now pushing legislation to overhaul the university system’s Board of Regents. Legislation sponsored by state Del. Ben Barnes of Prince George’s County and Sen. Sarah Elfreth of Anne Arundel County would require the Board of Regents to livestream its meetings on the internet; accept comments from the public; record all motions and vote tallies; and conduct any votes related to employment or termination of university presidents or the chancellor in open session. (Balt. Sun)

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Senators want to double number of ‘green’ schools

Learning how earthworms improve the soil. Writing letters to elected officials about cleaning up trash. Testing water quality. Planting native trees. Labeling storm drains. These are a few of the ways students in Maryland’s designated “green schools” are learning about – and affecting – the environment. Currently, 27% of the state’s schools carry the green school certification. A bill before the General Assembly would seek to increase that number to 50%. (Md. Reporter)

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After Frederick Douglass school shooting, Baltimore delegate resurrects bill to arm school police officers

State Del. Cheryl Glenn reintroduced legislation Wednesday that would authorize Baltimore school police officers to carry guns inside schools — a move she says is necessary after a recent shooting at Frederick Douglass High School. Glenn, a Baltimore Democrat who is chairwoman of the city’s House delegation, withdrew the measure earlier in the General Assembly session amid unanimous opposition from the city school board. But, after a school system staff member was shot this month, Glenn said she will no longer defer to the school board. (Balt. Sun)

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Howard County schools' policy aims to support transgender children

Howard County schools has been working in recent months on a set of guidelines designed to support transgender and gender nonconforming students. The guidelines, made for school principals with the expectation they will share them with assistant principals, teachers, counselors, volunteers and other staff, include topics such as student privacy, records, use of names and pronouns, restroom use, gender-segregated activities, sports, dress codes and clubs. The policy also notes that all information related to transgender and nonconforming students is kept confidential within the school system. (Ho. Co. Times)

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Salisbury University plots 750-bed student housing complex

An aged Eastern Shore motel and shopping center in Wicomico County will soon give way to an expansion of Salisbury University. A 750-bed student housing development is set to break ground in the fall and will be the largest residential complex ever built on the rural campus, said university spokesman Jason Rhodes. The cost of the project is between $70 and $80 million and will be funded through the sale of tax-exempt bonds to private investors later this year, Rhodes said. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Baltimore school system hires former board member to high-level position

Another former Baltimore school board member has landed a high-paying job with the school system. Tina Hike-Hubbard, who left the board in January 2018, was recently named the district’s chief of communications and community engagement. She will oversee community engagement, partnerships, communications and enrollment and will start in March. It’s the second time in the last year that a former board member has been hired by the district. (Balt. Sun)

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Wicomico superintendent addresses safety concerns at Salisbury Middle

Parents voiced their worries about student safety at Salisbury Middle School through media coverage and social media posts this week as fights between students continued. Superintendent Donna Hanlin responded to those concerns with a statement at the Wicomico County Board of Education on Tuesday, Feb. 20. "I’d like to assure the community that school safety is an important topic for Wicomico County Public Schools at Salisbury Middle School and in every school, for every student, parent, staff member and community our schools serve. We want our students and staff members to come together in our schools each day for productive learning and positive experiences," Hanlin said. (Daily Times)

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Baltimore County school board passes $1.6 billion budget that doesn't make the major cuts Olszewski sought

In a rebuke of the Baltimore County executive’s request, the school board passed a $1.6 billion budget for the coming school year without making any major cuts. The budget that was passed was close to the original spending plan that Interim Superintendent Verletta White introduced Jan. 8, and includes at least an 11.2 percent increase in county spending. Instead of reducing its request as County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. had asked, the board added millions of dollars more. Most of the additions came at the urging of individual board members who each had a special area of interest. (Balt. Sun)

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