Funding Challenges of Maryland’s Kirwan Plan Raise Concerns for Local Governments
Local governments in the region are facing significant financial challenges in meeting the funding requirements of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, also known as the Kirwan Plan. The plan, aimed at improving Maryland schools, has sparked concerns about the funding sources and the burden it places on taxpayers. Fox 45 (Project Baltimore) has been instrumental in reporting on these issues.
During an April news conference, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott expressed his dismay, stating that the city would need to allocate $79 million more than anticipated to fund Kirwan. The Carroll County Board of Education president and Senator Stephen Hershey, representing several counties, echoed these concerns, highlighting the financial strain Kirwan places on their jurisdictions.
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, enacted in 2021 after the legislature overrode then-Governor Larry Hogan’s veto, entails a massive increase in education spending. It allocates an additional $30 billion in tax dollars to public education over the first 10 years, followed by an annual increase of $4 billion. The plan encompasses initiatives such as increasing teacher salaries, expanding Pre-K programs, and enhancing career and technology training.
However, one major concern raised when the bill was passed was the absence of a funding mechanism. The legislature mandated billions of additional dollars in education spending without a clear plan on how to pay for it. This has left local jurisdictions in a precarious situation, particularly as the funding requirements of Kirwan continue to rise annually.
Currently, except for Baltimore City, all jurisdictions in the region already allocate more funding to their school systems than what Kirwan demands. Nevertheless, the funding gap is likely to emerge as the Kirwan requirements increase over time. Furthermore, in 2024, the federal Covid relief money, known as ESSER or ARPA funds, will run out, exacerbating the financial strain on county governments.
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The MEN was founded by John Huber in the fall of 2020. It was founded to provide a platform for expert opinion and commentary on current issues that directly or indirectly affect education. All opinions are valued and accepted providing they are expressed in a professional manner. The Maryland Education Network consists of Blogs, Videos, and other interaction among the K-12 community.