Maryland math problem: How to pay for ambitious education plan

Maryland lawmakers passed a sweeping education package in the latest General Assembly session and recently identified a work group whose task will be to find a way to pay for it.

The 13-member work group that will take on the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future includes Dr. Alvin Thornton, chairman of the Prince George’s County Board of Education and the architect of the “Thornton Plan,” the school funding formula currently used in Maryland.

Dr. Monica Goldson, interim CEO of the Prince George’s County Public Schools system, said that she had hoped that Thornton would be involved in the process. “I feel confident that if we have the right people working to create that formula, that funding formula, that we will continue to move forward,” she said.

The work group will try to come up with a funding formula before the 2020 Maryland General Assembly session.

In the last legislative session, lawmakers passed one chunk of the recommendations outlined in the Kirwan Commission report — the document that the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future is based on.

“That will make a major difference for jurisdictions like Prince George’s. And that $53 million is going to go a long way toward improving instruction,” Goldson said.

That legislation went into effect without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature. He voiced concerns that lawmakers passed the plan without coming up with a way to pay for it.

Recommendations from the work group are expected to be sent along to the Kirwan Commission by Nov. 1.

Below are the members of the work group:

  • William E. “Brit” Kirwan, chair of the Kirwan Commission, former chancellor of the University System of Maryland
  • Harford County Executive Barry Glassman
  • Former Chair of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, Sen. Joan Carter Conway
  • Matt Gallagher, president of the Goldseker Foundation and former chief of staff to the Maryland governor
  • Sean Johnson, assistant executive director of the Maryland State Educators Association
  • Richard Madaleno, Montgomery County director of Management & Budget and former vice chair of the Senate Budget and Tax Committee
  • Dr. Alvin Thornton, chair of the Prince George’s County Board of Education
  • Del. Maggie McIntosh, chair of the House Appropriations Committee
  • Sen. Bill Ferguson, vice chair of the Senate Budget and Tax Committee
  • Eloise Foster, former Maryland State Budget Secretary
  • Cheryl Pasteur, former principal and member of the Baltimore County Board of Education
  • Monique Davis, assistant superintendent for Anne Arundel County Public Schools and former deputy superintendent for Prince George’s County Public Schools
  • Budget secretary David Brinkley, appointee for Gov. Larry Hogan

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