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Kirwan Commission votes on $4 billion school funding proposal

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Posted at 4:10 PM, Oct 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-15 16:10:37-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WMAR) — The Kirwan Commission on Tuesday voted on a new funding formula for Maryland's public schools.

Made up of state and local lawmakers, educators, and officials, the panel recommended $4 billion in public education reform over the next 10-years or by 2030.

The state would be responsible for picking up $2.8 billion of the cost, while Baltimore City and the state's 23 counties would have to pay $1.2 billion.

For Baltimore City, that would cost around $330 million over the next decade, nearly double their current spending.

In the first five-years, there would be increases in state funding for educational initiatives such as the expansion of full-day prekindergarten for low-income children, teacher pay raises, special education services, and enhanced college and career readiness programs including career technical education.

It's unclear where the money would come from, with the commission leaving that part up to lawmakers.

Governor Larry Hogan was not satisfied with the price tag of the proposal, even going as far to call the Kirwan Commission, the "Kirwan Tax Hike Commission".

“I have tremendous respect for Dr. Kirwan and have supported many of his well-meaning recommendations, some of which can be phased in over the next several years. Unfortunately, the Kirwan Tax Hike Commission is hellbent on spending billions more than we can afford, and legislators are refusing to come clean about where the money is going to come from. Even after more than three years of meetings, there is still no clear plan whatsoever for how either the state or the counties will pay this massive price tag. We cannot recklessly expand the state’s deficit to $18.7 billion, as these proposals require. And we will not impose billions in crippling state and local tax increases on Marylanders. Our students, parents, and teachers deserve more accountability and better outcomes, not pie-in-the-sky unfunded spending proposals," said Hogan.

The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for October 30.