A MACo Summer Conference session gives an overview of what’s happening and what’s to come as Maryland redesigns the statewide commitment to public education.
The [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education was formed in 2016 to answer two questions: Should the state revise current education funding formulas? And, what major new education policies must be enacted to put Maryland public schools on par with the best in the world?
While the Commission has developed detailed policy recommendations – proposals expected to cost billions of dollars – for counties, most of the ultimate fiscal consequences—and their spillover effect on other public priorities—have yet to be spelled out.
At the MACo Summer Conference general session, “The Changing Face of Education?” attendees heard updates from the Commission’s namesake, Dr. William “Brit” Kirwan, Montgomery County Council Member Craig Rice, and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon.
Dr. Kirwan shared an overview of the Commission’s recommendations, discussed The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, and shared his perspective on the Commission’s Funding Formula Workgroup.
A thirteen-member panel will make recommendations on the distribution of funds, by local education agency and between State and local governments, for the programmatic recommendations in the Kirwan Commission policy report, and recommend specific funding formulas for ongoing costs within the policy recommendations. Further, the Workgroup will prioritize the order of funding for the Commission’s recommendations.
Dr. Salmon, who sits on the Commission, provided an update on state efforts to implement the Commission’s recommendations, highlighted new education funds that are flowing to all 24 jurisdictions, and shared her perspective on the role of the new inspector general for education.
Council Member Rice, who is one of two MACo representatives on the Commission, discussed the new plan’s implications for state and local budgets. “It’s important that we make this investment, but we also have to make sure that our education formulas are fair and equitable to everyone,” Rice said.
Rice also said that Maryland’s Education Blueprint is seen as a model for other states, and has been embraced by the National Center on Education and the Economy. Perhaps most importantly, Rice assured his colleagues that he is working to ensure the new funding formula “lifts all boats.” “I will not support something that pits jurisdictions against one another,” Rice said.
The session was moderated by Harford County Executive and 2019 MACo President, Barry Glassman, and held on Thursday, August 15, 2019.