Hundreds show in Annapolis as lawmakers discuss Kirwan Education Funding bill

Posted at 5:23 PM, Feb 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 15:26:03-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Hundreds of people were in Annapolis on Monday to talk about major education reform at joint hearing on the Blueprint for Maryland's Future.

The blueprint is based on recommendations from the Kirwan Commission, transforming the funding formula to improve Maryland's public schools by closing achievement gaps, retaining teachers and getting students college and career ready.

"I stand here dreaming of a better tomorrow," said Saidah Ervin, a Baltimore City student. "A school that has classrooms full of the latest technology. Classrooms led by a diverse group of professional educators.

Strong Schools Maryland, students, parents and leaders held a rally ahead of a packed joint hearing on the House and Senate versions of the bill.

"With these bills, you can take action that will begin the transformation of our school system from one that is failing way too many of our children, to one that gives every child in every zipcode a chance to realize his or her full potential," Dr. Brit Kirwan, former University System of Maryland Chancellor said.

Kirwan and 129 other people signed up to speak, including a coalition of six county executives and city leaders in support.

The Kirwan Commission recommends spending nearly $4 billion more annually on education by the year 2030.

Governor Larry Hogan argues that to fully implement everything would cost $32 billion over 10 years and Mayor Jack Young and others have concerns about where that money is coming from and how the required costs would be divided among jurisdictions.

Republican lawmakers asked for this to be delayed so they could better look at the newly released funding analysis ahead of time.

Many today said they fully expect amendments to the bill. Both versions will now go to their respective chambers for second readings.