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Update, sweeping changes to funding formula for Md. schools put on hold

WASHINGTON — Maryland’s K-12 education funding formula has been undergoing an update by a state panel that’s also been at work on sweeping policy changes.

But this week, lawmakers let the members of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education know that getting legislation through the General Assembly would be nearly impossible. That means any major changes in the spending formula would not be in legislative plans until the 2020 session.

The education panel, also known as the Kirwan Commission for Chairman William “Brit” Kirwan, had proposed adding $4.4 billion to Maryland education spending. Lawmakers anticipated robust debate on how to come up with additional money to meet the recommendations in the plan.

In a letter to the Kirwan Commission, Senate President Thomas Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch said they understood that it would be “virtually impossible” for the Kirwan Commission to complete its work on funding formulas in time for the 2019 General Assembly session. Lawmakers begin the 90-day session on Jan. 9.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has announced a plan to put $1.9 billion in casino revenues toward education, but has been clear that he would not support tax increases to pay for recommendations by the Kirwan Commission.