Better With Less Award
Comptroller Franchot created the Better With Less Award in 2011 to recognize the countless Maryland businesses innovatively operating at lower costs. The award was given to one business or organization in each of Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City and recognized organizations that achieved economic success while using less resources, used an innovative means to efficiently operate, identified a niche market in the current economic climate or provided new economic opportunities for local communities. More than 100 nominations were received.
Bright Lights Award
Comptroller Franchot announced the Bright Lights Award in December 2016 to pay tribute to business and nonprofit leaders and organizations that foster innovation in their fields. The Bright Lights Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship recognized and celebrated innovation in the private and nonprofit sectors that strengthened Maryland's economy, generated jobs and tax revenue and developed new ideas that more effectively delivered services and products within the marketplace. One winner was selected from each of Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City, and businesses or nonprofits of any size were eligible for the award.
The Comptroller established the Cool Classrooms initiative in 2012 to galvanize public support for installing air conditioning in all Baltimore County Public Schools. Historically, school systems around the state have faced the same issue and have been able to solve it with great success by installing portable air conditioning units, giving school systems time to install central air while keeping students and teachers comfortable.
End Montgomery County Alcohol Monopoly
Comptroller Franchot held a press conference on December 22, 2015 to announce the findings of a state Bureau of Revenue Estimates study on the economic impact of introducing private sector competition on alcohol sales and distribution in Montgomery County.
Golden Apple Award
The Comptroller created the Golden Apple Award in 2012 to recognize outstanding volunteers, organizations and individuals within the Maryland public school system. Winners were selected on their demonstration of superior volunteer work in Maryland public schools. Countless numbers of men, women and organizations donate their time and resources to volunteer at public schools throughout the state, all without pay and sometimes without any recognition. This award provided the accolades these volunteers truly deserve.
Maryland Masters Award
The Maryland Masters Award recognized public-school students who displayed extraordinary artistic skills, talents and a vision for Maryland's future. During the 2013-2014 school year, 55 students from 19 jurisdictions throughout the state took part in the program. The Comptroller selected students from each of Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City in grades K-12 to have a piece of original artwork on exhibit in the Comptroller's Office in Annapolis.
School After Labor Day
In August 2013, Comptroller Franchot released an economic development impact report on a post-Labor Day start for public schools. Completed by the Bureau of Revenue Estimates, the report found that a delayed school start in Maryland would result in an additional $74.3 million in direct economic activity, including $3.7 million in new wages and a separate $7.7 million in state and local revenue.
A citizen-led grassroots initiative to start public schools after Labor Day kicked off in August 2014 to give families more time together, small businesses an economic boost and teachers a much-needed break. More than 13,240 Marylanders signed the "Let Summer Be Summer" petition, far exceeding the 10,000-signature goal. It was presented to members of the Maryland General Assembly at the beginning of the 2015 legislative session.
The "Let Summer Be Summer" campaign resulted from a governor's task force which recommended in May 2014 that Maryland public schools delay opening until after Labor Day, while continuing to end the school year in early to mid-June. The state task force, which met for nearly a year to consider the issue, voted 11 to 4 in favor of a later start date statewide.
Governor Hogan signed an executive order on August 31, 2016 requiring all Maryland public schools to begin classes after Labor Day. The executive order requires Maryland public schools to start classes after Labor Day and to end the school year by June 15. The new policy began with the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
Silver Hammer Award
Comptroller Franchot established the Silver Hammer Award in 2017 for schools that have demonstrated a commitment to fiscal responsibility through superior school maintenance. The Comptroller has seen many examples through his visits to public schools across the state where effective maintenance - including simple and affordable investments like a fresh coat of paint, new carpeting or a power washing - have made a world of difference. In addition to providing communities with a renewed sense of pride in their schools, research has confirmed the obvious and positive impact that clean, attractive and comfortable facilities have on student performance.