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Maryland PTA 102 nd Annual Convention
July 28-29, 2017
Sheraton Columbia Town Center
Empowering A New Generation of Leaders
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Welcome to the Maryland PTA Website


A Word From Our President

MDPTA President Elizabeth Ysla Leight



Elizabeth Ysla Leight, Esq.

President, Maryland PTA

Maryland PTA and our approximately 170,000 members in over 1,000 schools in Maryland, whose mission is to make every child’s potential a reality, stand united in strong opposition to private school vouchers.  Vouchers divert desperately needed public funds away from the public school system to fund the private education of a few, select students.

Maryland elected officials should do what is right, serve all students by using funds to make public schools stronger and safer. Every day, PTA leaders hear stories from school partners that student services will be cut, that art programs or music programs must be cut, all due to limited funding. Every year, Maryland school systems see growing class sizes, yet they are receiving less state aid than they did the previous year.  PTA parents are asked to provide minimum essential supplies, computer paper, computer supplies, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, ink for staff equipment, all in addition to the customary classroom supplies of pencils, crayons, tissues, hand sanitizer, etc. Every day, a new “Go Fund Me” page goes up for needs in public schools, all due to cuts in state aid.

The claim that private schools provide a higher quality of education, better-trained teachers or provide students higher achievement is not proven. Maryland PTA believes that, instead of providing equal access to education or setting high standards for accountability, voucher programs are ineffective, lack accountability to taxpayers, and deprive students of Federal rights provided to them every day in the public school system.

According to National PTA and the National Coalition for Public Education (NCPE), school “choice” programs do not provide real choice for students and parents. The “choice” in voucher programs actually lies with private schools who, studies show, turn away students for a variety of reasons. By contrast, public schools are open and serve all students as required by Federal law. Left behind are students with disabilities and special needs who are underserved by voucher programs. Many private schools lack services for students with disabilities, often denying them admission, fail to provide mandated individualized education plan (IEP), or subjecting them to inappropriate suspensions or expulsions. In fact, these students are less likely to have access to ESL programs, learning support and special needs programs, tutors, counselors, cafeterias and nurse’s offices.  All these services are uniformly available to students in the public school system. According to NCPE, the Louisiana and Ohio voucher programs revealed that students who used vouchers did not make gains on standardized tests unlike their peers not in the voucher program.  We don’t want Maryland to make the same costly mistake at the cost of public school students.

Finally, vouchers violate religious liberty. Voucher programs that use taxpayer money to fund primarily religious programs is inappropriate. Parents may choose a religious education for their children, but no taxpayer should be required to pay for another’s religious education.

Maryland PTA opposes school vouchers, and we call on the Maryland State Legislature to ensure that public dollars remain in public education, to be used for all children to make their full potential a reality. Maryland PTA is dedicated to the support of public schools and opposes the diverting of public money to private and religious schools through tuition tax credits and vouchers.

Maryland PTA    Every Child. One Voice


1. U.S. Department of Education, “Evaluation of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Final Report”, pg. 24-26 (June 2010) found that 21.6% of parents who rejected a voucher offered to their child did so because the school lacked the special services that their child needed and 12.3% of the parents who accepted a voucher for their child but then left the program cited a lack of special needs services at the school they had chosen; pg. 17-18, finding that approximately 80% of the students participating in the D.C. voucher program attend religious schools.

2. Morgan Winsor, Louisiana’s Controversial Voucher Program Harms Poor Students, Lowers Grades, New Study Finds. Int’l Bus. Times (Jan. 10, 2016)

3. Patrick J. Wolf, School Choice Demonstration project, Univ. Ark, “The Comprehensive Longitudinal Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program: Summary of Final Report (April 2010). “Overall there are no significant achievement gains of voucher students compared to public school students. “When similar MPCP and MPS students are matched and tracked over four years, the achievement growth of MPCP students compared to MPS students is higher in reading but similar in math.”


   Elizabeth Ysla Leight, Esq.


   Maryland PTA

 Dear PTA Leaders,

The time is at hand to contact your local elected officials to ask that they work to keep public funds in the public schools.  National PTA and Maryland PTA have historically supported the exclusive use of public taxpayer funds limited to our nation’s public schools.  As you know Governor Hogan has already given funding to private and religious institutions and proposes FY 2018 Budget increases for an addition $6.85 million to be diverted from our public schools and to private and religious organizations.

PTA members are needed to take a stand against the siphoning off of public funds from our local schools who are in desperate need of additional needs and services.  Many of our school children attend school in deplorably crowded conditions, attend schools without air-conditioning or that leak when it rains.

This is the second consecutive year that Gov. Hogan has decided to withhold school funding despite projected budget surpluses. Last year, he withheld $68 million passed in a bipartisan budget from thirteen counties that saw increased class sizes, eliminated educator positions, and cut programs. Then, he held back $25 million in funding that would have supported the maintenance of aging school facilities and helped counties pay for educator pensions without cutting funding levels for classroom instruction.

We need YOU to support our public schools who are trying to do more for students with less help from the state than ever before. Gov. Hogan’s proposal to create a private school voucher program, a $5 million line-item in the budget was included to send taxpayer dollars to private schools. Advocates of the effort argued that the funding would help students in “struggling” public schools leave for private sector options. In 2016, when Gov. Hogan included $5 million for the BOOST voucher program in his budget, an overwhelming majority of those taxpayer dollars—78%—were then distributed to families whose children already were enrolled in private schools. The truth is, this money would go a lot further to help low-income students if it was spent in our taxpayer-funded public school system to improve dilapidated buildings and support student programs.

When we have $3 million in unmet needs in the public schools, any dollar dedicated to private schools—whether it’s $5 million, $10 million, or one dollar—keeps us from meeting those needs. The failed BOOST voucher program should be eliminated.

We can’t afford to fund two different school systems—public taxpayer dollars should be spent improving our public schools, not subsidizing expensive private schools. If the state of Maryland cannot afford to spend taxpayer dollars on fixing aging school buildings and preventing class size increases, we certainly cannot afford to help subsidize tuition for those who are already enrolled in private schools, and it’s disappointing that the governor is choosing to siphon funding from public schools to help private schools. 



Tell your elected officials that Enough is Enough.  Support Our Public Schools. 

Here is what you can do:

  1. Write an Email to your Senator and Delegate asking that they not support expanding additional funds to private and religious schools.
  2. March with MSEA and Maryland PTA on Monday, March 13 to Support Our Public Schools. We are gathering at the MSEA HQ parking lot, 140 Main Street, Annapolis, MD at 5:00 pm and marching up the street to the State House for scheduled lobby visits and office drop-bys. You can see details on the march, RSVP at www.protectMDschools.com
  3. Write a letter to Governor Hogan expressing your disapproval that he is not funding the public school system and diverting funds to private and religious schools.



Voucher Program Funding (BOOST)


Hogan FY18 Budget increases current Voucher funding

 from $5 million to $6.85 million


A fund of $5 million last year was placed into the budget last minute without a public hearing

  • The General Assembly did not approve any substantive bills pertaining to the program during the legislative session

After one year of this program, we learned

  • 78% of students receiving funding already attend private schools
    • Thus failing to fulfill at its original promise to give options for families
  • Scholarship does not cover costs for transportation,  tuition, fees, supplies, etc.

Anti-Discrimination Policies

  • Schools anti-discrimination policies do not include all protections that are found in the public school policy
  • Only protects in student admissions and not retention
  • No protections offered to teachers.

Examples of extreme religious teachings

  • Cathedral Christian Academy  - received $181k
    • Handbook – Pg 6 – “and support/encourage the school's efforts to teach and cultivate Biblical values and lifestyles”
  • George E. Peters Adventist School – received $2,800
    • 5th grade curriculum- Health: Reproductive System, Mental/Emotional Health - Describe God’s plan for human sexual behavior

No Fiscal Accountability

  • Once funds are dispersed there is no check to ensure the funds are utilized properly at the school

No verification on Parents Income

  • When parents fill out the application the income level is self-reported
  • No check to ensure the correct income amount has been reported

Private schools are not required to take state standardized testing (PARCC)

  • No way determine the level of education at private schools
  • No way to determine if the public funds going to this program is effectively educating our children without this check

Kirwan Commission which was set forth by the Governor to determine how to better our schools

  • Recommends public schools need $2.9 billion more in order to be properly funded
  • Stories of teachers purchasing supplies for their own classrooms are common
  • With such severe underfunding, it is irresponsible to divert any amount of funds to help subsidize private schools

Private schools are closing are still receiving funds

  • Baltimore-- Seton Keough (12 BOOST scholarships), St. Thomas Aquinas (11 scholarships), and John Paul Regional School (13).
  • 2 are merging-- St. Clement in Baltimore County (13), and St. Michael the Archangel in Overlea (16).


Maryland PTA's Commitment to Positive, Safe Environments for All Students


Maryland PTA and National PTA have a commitment to maintaining a positive and safe environment for all students. Maryland PTA believes that all children should have access to safe, supportive and inclusive learning environments so they can focus on achieving academic success and preparing for their futures. This commitment falls on parents and educators and PTA as we play a critical role in reducing incidents in our schools based on recent events.  It is important for all parents and educators keep in mind that National PTA and Maryland PTA maintain that we speak for Every child. One Voice.

We ask that all of our constituent councils and local PTAs realize their important role in helping children understand what it means to respect and support all children and families.  As we embrace the diversity of our school communities and families, in its many dimensions, including race, nationality, culture, religion, sexual orientation, economic status, ethnicity, gender, legal status, mental ability, and national origin, it is important that we stay firm to our values and principles and continue to embrace all children.  

For over 101 years, Maryland PTA has had the privilege of working with families and educators to help children reach their full potential.  Questions have been raised about whether we are providing positive role-model choices for children and communities who feel disconnected and divided due to recent events.  In communities across Maryland, schools have been subject to student protests, social media postings, vandalism, and actions that can, at best, be described as bullying.  The schools have become far from positive, save environments that we want all students to experience. In fact, students are nervous as a result of attitudes and viewpoints brought about by these actions.  All children have the right to go to school without fear of harassment or threats. 

Listen and Ask 

What can PTA do to help students and schools?  PTA is built on the values of Collaboration, Commitment, Diversity, Respect and Accountability. We urge or local PTAs and area councils to work with your school community, school officials and community at large to curb inappropriate activities that may arise in your community.  Encourage and support your school leaders to hold dialogues with you families to teach about appropriate and respectful behavior. PTAs play a critical role in reducing incidents of bullying in our schools and have for many years. In 2005 National PTA adopted a resolution against bullying and established support policies and programs to address the prevention, intervention and elimination of bullying and cyberbullying. PTA believes that parents should have the best information and resources available to help prevent and respond to acts of bullying and inappropriate speech at school.  For that reason Maryland PTA and National PTA have partnered to provide resources for parents at www.pta.org.  National PTA  has sponsored a webinar on Bullying and Cyberbullying Prevention which is on their website.  We urge PTA to encourage parents, school staff and other caring adults to learn how parents, students and school communities can appropriately respond to and address bullying and cyberbullying. 


Teach Positive Choices

We encourage PTAs to work with parents to develop an inclusive school climate and engage the school community in dialogue by brining students, parents and leaders together for productive discussion and brainstorm Use of inappropriate language towards others is bullying.  on ways to overcome inappropriate behavior in our schools.  We hope that the parent leaders will develop a plan of action that educates and empowers students, families and the broader school community around bullying prevent and create safe school environments for all students.  National PTA has provided a Learning Hero flyer that you can share with parents to begin the dialogue entitled "Talking to Children About the Election".  A copy is available on the Maryland PTA Website for you to use.  Use this as a guide to talk to children about small choices and actions we take every day to make our world better.  Continue to support important skills like how to practice self-control and how to approach challenges with perseverance and focus on the positive.  

We hope that every PTA in Maryland will live up to our mission to make every child's potential a reality and work together every day to make that possible.

Elizabeth Ysla Leight



March 21, 2017 at 7PM EST
Webinar: A Quick PTA Insurance Overview
Conference Call #(302) 202-1110
Access Code: 404685


PTAs have various events for children, but what does the
PTA insurance cover and what is the process in reporting a
claim? This brief webinar will provide an easy to understand
overview and allow you to ask your questions.
PLEASE RSVP TO: Manuelh@Knightins.net


MD License #2145628

Maryland PTA 102nd Annual Convention Sponsors & Exhibitor!

July 28-29, 2017

Sheraton Columbia Town Center, 10207 Wincopin Circle, Columbia, MD

This Year's Theme: Empowering A New Generation of Leaders

Dear Exhibitor,

Maryland PTA is reaching out to you with an opportunity to interface with many of our 170,000 Maryland PTA members as an Exhibitor at our 102nd Maryland PTA Annual Convention to be held July 28 - 29, 2017 at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel in Columbia, MD. This venue gives you an opportunity to interact with Maryland PTA members and leaders as you showcase your special services of interest to parents, educators and education stakeholders who will be attending the 102nd Maryland PTA Annual Convention.

Maryland PTA is excited to give you the opportunity to showcase services to enhance experiences and learning opportunities for Maryland’s students. As an Exhibitor, you are a vital added element to the Maryland PTA 102nd Annual Convention experience for our members.  Maryland PTA members are ready to explore new fundraising opportunities and programs that enrich the lives of Maryland’s students. 

Join us at the 102ndMaryland PTA Annual Convention by completing the attached registration form to reserve your table. The first few to reserve their spot will be selected for inclusion in our web advertising and convention announcements, so please complete your registration by July 1, 2017. All materials must be received by Maryland PTA by July 1, 2017 to be included as an Exhibitor for the 102nd Maryland PTA Annual Convention.

If you have any questions, please contact Peggy Aye at office@mdpta.org if you have questions.  She can be reached at (410) 760-6221.

Maryland PTA members look forward to seeing you at the 102nd Maryland PTA Annual Convention!



EYL signature(1)

Elizabeth Ysla Leight

Maryland PTA President

Please Click Below for More Details


Come to the 2017 Maryland PTA 102nd Annual Convention!

July 28 - 29, 2017

Sheraton Columbia Town Center


Guest Speaker: Maryland’s 2016 Teacher of the Year Athanasia Kyriakakos

Maryland PTA invites you to join us for this weekend of education, networking, relaxation and fun. In July we will host the Maryland PTA 102nd Annual PTA Convention at a spectacular new location in Columbia, Maryland.

Maryland PTA Convention is an opportunity to bring new energy and ideas to your local PTA units and enhance your relationships with other members of the PTA, while enjoying the beauty and amenities of this great location. Our Convention Committee has planned a weekend full of informative education sessions and fun social events.



Maryland PTA 101st Annual Convention Sponsors!










Visit our Maryland PTA Online Store!  Encourage, Motivate and Inspire!




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