MSEA’s executive director on the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future
This fall, the Kirwan Commission expects to complete its recommendations on a new school funding system that will then be sent to the governor and General Assembly.
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future provided a $1.1 billion down payment on this plan, enabling school systems to strengthen pre-K and special education programs, hire a community schools coordinator and health services provider at more than 200 schools in high-poverty communities, and boost teacher salaries by an additional 1.5%.
In January, the General Assembly will consider legislation to set long-term sustainable funding for these programs and more, like expanding career technical education and adding more school staff and early intervention programs.
Recent public polling finds that Marylanders strongly support this work. In September, MSEA and Goucher polls found that around two-thirds of Marylanders believe that schools are underfunded. Our poll found that 71% support passing a funding and policy plan to significantly increase school funding. The Goucher poll found that 74% are personally willing to pay more taxes to support increased funding.
The wind is at our back. The public is with us — they understand that the needs in our schools are dire and must be addressed. Our challenge is to build on this public support and make sure we pass a new funding formula that meets the needs of our students during the 2020 session.
Some elected officials will try to turn this into a fight between Democrats and Republicans. But Maryland’s future is not a partisan issue. Whether a school is in a majority Republican or Democratic community, all schools and students stand to benefit greatly from an increased and equitable investment in the things we know will make a difference for students.
We must focus on our schools and our students and keep educating Marylanders about how the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future can help our children and communities. We’re working with dozens of other groups to hold community forums across the state between now and Thanksgiving. Come and share your voice — and bring others with you!
Sign up for a forum near you at marylandblueprint.org.