MACo on Kirwan Blueprint: Rely on State Funding

MACo has submitted a Letter of Information for today’s public hearing on the Kirwan Blueprint legislation. The statement calls for the State to provide the resources for the ambitious school funding plan – citing the most equitable state funding systems, where the State is the lead player in funding.

Read the text of MACo’s statement below:

World Class Schools – A State Priority, Should Rely on State Funding

The State of Maryland should live up to its constitutional obligation, stand behind its own ambitious recommendations, and provide State resources to implement the full costs of the Kirwan Blueprint plan.

The goals of the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education are ambitious and laudable, and chart an important course forward for Maryland’s commitment to its public school students. Counties, too, want world class schools and educational opportunities for all Maryland’s schoolchildren. 2020 legislation to support and fund those recommendations will require a herculean fiscal effort.

The Maryland Constitution’s requirement of “thorough and efficient” public schools properly places this duty onto the State – the most prominent such obligation on State policymakers. The far-reaching Kirwan plan is a continuation of this State requirement.

Reliance on local funds for half, or more, of education funding merely promotes and extends the resource gaps that still plague Maryland’s schools – even decades after the Thornton Commission and subsequent legislation. In the Kirwan Commission’s own research into “Fair Funding,” the highest scoring state for equitable funding commits a much higher share of State funding than Maryland to achieve those goals.

Taking into account current county funding commitments that have exceeded state standards, a generational plan that further increases reliance on mandated county-level funding can never accomplish the most desirable and equitable outcomes.

Centralize this new school funding, to bring world class schools statewide, fairly.

A pdf document of the statement is also available online.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties