Kirwan Funding Workgroup Closing in on Final Recommendations

The workgroup formed by the [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education to delve into the complex matters of inter-jurisdictional formulas and the eventual state/local split of cost responsibilities continued its work today in Annapolis.

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The workgroup was asked to provide input on funding formula assumptions to enable the state staff and hired consultants to continue modeling the total cost of implementing the recommendations set forth by the Kirwan Commission.

Preliminary Foundation Calculation – FY 30

The workgroup reviewed the additional items that would be factored into the eventual “Foundation” funding amount – a base level of funding used to drive the state’s central school funding programs.

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The current foundation amount is $7,244 per student. The fully phased-in cost of the newly rebuilt foundation program, in current dollars, would be $9,020. Adjusted for anticipated increases in the cost of living over time, the FY 2030 amount would be $11,164.

The two largest cost drivers, shown above as the first two bulleted items, are both connected to teacher salaries — an increase in teacher pay scale to compete with other professions, and hiring additional teachers to enable a reduction in classroom time for each teacher. Collectively, those two items were estimated at $1,768 per student.

Staff will design the cost projection model using the weights as described in this section.

Per Pupil Weights – Targeted Populations

Maryland recognizes that certain classes of students drive real costs beyond the basics incorporated into the foundation formula. Students with special needs, students coming from backgrounds of poverty, and students with limited English proficiency all represent an additional funding modifier to drive needed resources to those systems.

In addition to including Pre-k for 3-and-4-year-olds in targeted education aid, the Kirwan Commission recommends adding a “concentrated poverty” weight to support intensive services for students and their families to enable them to succeed in school and able to meet the additional needs of students in schools located in distressed communities.

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Staff will include these weights in their cost projection model.

State/Local Cost Share

Under the current Maintenance of Effort (MOE) law, counties are required by the State to maintain the same amount of funding for education per pupil each year.

According to the Department of Legislative Services (DLS), in FY 20, counties collectively added $238 million on top of the required MOE. The additional $238 million does not include the additional dollars that counties spend on capital infrastructure, like school buildings.Screen Shot 2019-09-26 at 10.29.59 AM.pngScreen Shot 2019-09-26 at 10.32.19 AM

While counties are required to fund MOE, they are not required to fund the local share of targeted funding. Workgroup staff demonstrated how funding obligations would change if counties were required to fund the local share of targeted funding.

“What that last column shows you are the great contributions that counties are already making [to the targeted funding] areas,” Chair of the House Appropriations Committee and Kirwan Commission member, Maggie McIntosh, said.

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The cost projection model will assume counties are required to fund the local share of targeted funding.

What’s Next?

Today, the workgroup again extended its work, adding a meeting on October 15th. So, while the panel will meet on October 8th, it will not vote on final recommendations until October 15th.

MACo’s Drew Jabin contributed to this article.

Useful Links

Materials from Today’s Meeting

Video from Today’s Meeting

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