Counties Support Kirwan “Blueprint” Bill as Worthy First Steps

On Wednesday, MACo Legislative Committee members Craig Rice (Montgomery), Jan Gardner (Frederick), and Laura Price (Talbot) joined Executive Director Michael Sanderson in support of SB 1030 The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.

The bill represents the initial steps to implement the findings of the Kirwan Commission, targeting broad changes to Maryland’s support for, and expectations of, its education system. This initial bill includes a limited number of funding commitments for FY 2020 and 2021. One component of the bill creates an incentive for counties to find a 3% salary increase in each of those years, with additional state funding for teacher salary enhancements as the inducement to do so.

The full bill is described thoroughly in the Fiscal and Policy Note from the Department of Legislative Services.

Although it would be helpful to add clarifying language in regards to interplay among different bargaining unit contracts within a single county, this legislation succeeds at taking the first steps toward funding multiple educational priorities that are shared by many stakeholders, including counties.

From the MACo Testimony:

Overall, SB 1030 makes broad policy and programmatic pledges, and begins the course-setting envisioned by the Commission in its years of work. Much of this work still lies ahead. For counties, most of the ultimate fiscal consequences—and their spillover effect on other public priorities—have yet to be spelled out. Counties expect to be central to the development of any plan to finance, realign, and apportion the costs of these ambitious, but expensive, goals.

SB 1030 represents a first step—and a first commitment of meaningful State resources—to education improvements to advance our schools’ competitiveness and outcomes. The reasonable county incentive program to begin advancing teacher compensation, and the sensible clause to recognize county investments in advance of new mandates, are both good faith efforts toward a productive funding partnership.

For more on 2019 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.