Full Kirwan Commission Gets Updated, Back on Track to Finish Work

The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (Kirwan Commission) met for the first time on October 30, after receiving final recommendations from the Funding Formula Workgroup.

Chairman William E. (Brit) Kirwan introduced new members to the Commission including Senator Mary Beth Carozza, Delegate Eric Luedtke, former Senator Gail Bates now representing the Maryland State Board of Education, and MACo “rural county”  representative, Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Jack Wilson. Before getting started, members took time to reflect on Governor Hogan’s declined invitation to speak before the Commission with Senator Paul Pinsky calling it “disheartening and sad” and would have appreciated a conversation with the Governor on the importance of the blueprint that “compares with none other in the county.”

After a quick review of the 2019 legislation, SB 1030, the Committee moved on to a presentation by State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon. Superintendent Salmon spoke on the multitude of grants introduced in Maryland after 2018 legislation as well as the new campaign to recruit teachers here in the state.

While no decisions were made today, there was extensive discussion by the members on the final recommendations of the Funding Formula Workgroup (see here and here for a MACo deep dive into Workgroup recommendations).

As well as holding a regularly scheduled meeting from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm on November 12, the Commission will host a public hearing that evening in order to for the public to provide testimony on the Funding Formula Workgroup’s recommendations to the Commission. Instructions on how to sign up can be found here.

Documents from yesterday’s meeting:

  • Summary of SB 1030 – The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future
    • The enacted bill that adopted the policy recommendations and framework for future of Pre K-12 as well as allocated initial funds.
  • Overview of Funding Formula Workgroup Proposal
    • High level look at what the Workgroup worked on and their recommendations.
  • Funding Formula Workgroup Recommendations for State Education Aid Formulas
    • Deep dive into specific Workgroup recommendations on determining total funding, determining state/local shares, and state funded programs.
  • Commission Elements and Other Costs Matrix as Recommended by the Workgroup
    • Bigger picture discussion of different funding streams and where the money will sit. The matrix shows the areas of funding that are going to be wealth equalized (those inside the box). Outside the box is fully funded by state. Use this with the following document.
  • Recommended Base and Weights Table
    • Full calculations with both FY 20 and FY 30 numbers to show recommended per pupil amounts for Foundation Formula, Special Education, Compensatory Education, English Learners, Prekindergarten, and Equalized Categorical. These are all wealth equalized areas in the above matrix.
  • Comparison of Funding by Student Type
    • This shows the percentage difference in FY 30 dollars of current costs versus costs under the proposed recommendations for different funding areas.
  • Direct Education State Aid
    • These are the state aid funding implications of everything that has been discussed for the proposed model.
  • County Breakdown of State Aid and Local Shares
    • The first two pages show how state funding plays out county by county broken down by funding area. The second two pages are the local shares also broken down by funding area.
  • DLS Projections of Local Appropriations Explanation Letter
    • Explains that there is uncertainty with the numbers, therefore indirectly addressing the difference in MACo’s numbers and DLS’s numbers.
  • Comparing Local Appropriations and Local Share
    • Shows the effect of using enrollment figures as “the greater of” current enrollment or the rolling three year average. This policy was adopted to curtail funding dropoff when counties face declining enrollment, but it has carry-though effects in multiple formulas, as detailed here.
  • Phase-in of Additional Recommended State Education Aid Funding
    • Shows the difference between the Commission’s original recommendation versus the recommendations of the Workgroup. The Workgroup went with a more moderate approach with close to a 5.6% annual increase rather than front loading the phase in. The combination on current law and new spending would make up the new 5.6% increase per year.
  • Recommended State Education Funding by Policy Area
    • Deep dive into the increases in funding over current law, FY 20 reflects funds that the Blueprint is providing for the current fiscal year and then FY 21 goes on to show additional spending from Workgroup recommendations.
  • Fiscal 2021 Proposed State Funding
    • Shows an increase of $57 million over what the Blueprint was already providing. Centered around three areas: College and Career Readiness (CCR), Post-CCR/CTE Pathways, and Teacher Supplies and Technologies. It is recommended that the State will pay both the state and local shares in FY 21 for the Post-CCR/CTE Pathways as well as Teacher Supplies and Technologies.

If you just cannot get enough of the school funding debate, join MACo at our Winter Conference in December for a general session, “Breaking Down the Blueprint: School Funding in Focus.” Details follow:

  • Title: Breaking Down the Blueprint: School Funding in Focus
  • Description: As the generational debate about school funding continues, join our panel for a hearty discussion on Kirwan – its goals, steps, accountability, and costs. Panelists will examine the recommendations that came out of the Commission, how they will translate to legislation in the 2020 Session, what our schoolchildren could expect from this new approach, and the budgetary reality for Maryland’s counties.
  • Speakers:
    • Craig Rice, Council Member, Montgomery County Council
    • Barry Glassman, County Executive, Harford County
    • Joy Schaefer, Vice President, Board of Education of Frederick County
  • Moderator: The Honorable Paul Pinsky, Maryland Senate
  • Date/Time: Thursday, December 5, 2019; 10:30 am – 11:30 am
  • Location: Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort, Cambridge, MD

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: