Maryland lawmakers have formally introduced a bill that would drastically overhaul the states’ education system, and the amount of money invested in it.
However, what the bills are missing is a funding source that would generate the billions of dollars in revenue that would make the reforms, which were recommended by the Kirwan Commission last year, a reality.
The bills were filed in both the House and Senate.
In the past, Gov. Larry Hogan has referred to it as the “Kirwan Tax Hike Commission” because of the $4 billion price tag.
The legislation, backed by leaders in the Maryland House and Senate, touches on all aspects of the education system from preschool through high school.
The measure would raise standards for teachers, as well as their paychecks. It would expand preschool offerings around the state and create an accountability board to oversee the implementation of the reforms.
But the biggest sticking point behind it is figuring out how to pay for it all.
The legislation calls for another $2.8 billion to be paid by the state by the end of the decade. The other $1.2 billion would come from local governments.
In particular, Baltimore City and Prince George’s County would be hit the hardest, with taxpayers in the suburban D.C. jurisdiction forced to come up with another $360 million in revenue. In return, both of those school systems would see some of the biggest cash infusions coming back from the state.
There’s been talk that lawmakers would work to figure out a way to lighten the load on those two jurisdictions, since they have higher rates of poverty compared to other counties around the state. Committee work to change those formulas could begin soon now that the legislation has been introduced and filed to committees in the house and senate.
But overall, Democrats are still trying to figure out how this will all get paid for at the end.