This past legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1030 , the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. This legislation is a “down payment” on initial recommendations from the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, more commonly referred to as the Kirwan Commission. The Commission was established to make policy and funding recommendations to improve Maryland’s public education system. The initial funding in SB 1030 provided Prince George’s County Public Schools $53 million in grants to address concentration of poverty, teacher salaries, pre-kindergarten, students with disabilities, and struggling learners.
While this is a great first step, the work is not done. The Commission’s Funding Formula Workgroup is meeting to update the state funding formula for all public-school students in Maryland and expects to complete their work this fall. In January, the Maryland General Assembly will take up the task of figuring out how to phase in the Commission’s recommendations and fund them.
The importance of this moment for the children of Maryland should not be underestimated! These decisions will shape legislation and funding for Maryland public schools for the next decade or more. The state’s funding formula was last updated by the Thornton Commission in 2002 and phased in from 2003-2008, which means children who started kindergarten after the last update are now juniors in high school. The next update may not come for another 10-12 years, so we need to take full advantage of this moment.
Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools encourages all parents, educators, and community members to stay engaged in this process through the 2020 Legislative Session. We have joined with other advocates to share opinions and concerns about the recommendations and will do our best to keep our followers informed over this next session. Read our letter to Dr. Kirwan, chair of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, here.
In an effort to build community knowledge and support, the Maryland State Educators Association and its local affiliates are hosting a series of forums throughout the state. There are four forums currently scheduled for Prince George’s County:
Thursday, October 10 at Laurel High School (Media Center)
Wednesday, October 23 at the Bowie Center for Performing Arts
Tuesday, November 12 at Prince George’s Community College (Rennie Forum)
Monday, November 18 at Oxon Hill High School (Media Center)
RSVP online at https://www.marylandblueprint.org
It is up to all of us to make sure our children get the high-quality public education they deserve!