Lawmakers announce education funding plan

Posted at 10:38 PM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 07:53:26-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Education funding is the biggest spending in Maryland's budget, and some lawmakers want that number to go higher.

"This is the most important bill that we can be about the entire session," said Mike Miller.

That's how Miller and other democratic state house leaders described the education funding bill. It's a bill that took a cue from the recommendations from the Kirwan commission on education. The bill will come with $1 billion worth of funding over the next two years towards education.

"We are going to put the money up for school construction, we're going to put the money in for operating money, we're gonna have two committees work on it. We're gonna make it happen," said Mike Miller.

"We will also have at least $300 million, maybe $335 million for operating expenses for Kirwan," said Mike Bush.

Part of the $300 million plus Kirwan spending is proposed full day pre-kindergarden in public schools, an increase in teachers salaries and an increase in health and behavioral health funding.

"We have put forth proposals, recommendation that will enable Maryland to have a school system as strong as any in the world," said Kirwan.

While many Republicans want a stronger school system, some think the bill is too ambitious and too costly.

"You know, honestly I don't think that we can and not at this price tag. We're already looking at some situations where because of where the budget is, there might be a ability to not keep our Triple A bond rating," said Senator Steve Hershey.

"There are substantial cost to implementing these recommendations but, we also have to think about what are the cost of not doing this," said Kirwin.