As a new school year begins and the General Assembly prepares to revise the state’s public school funding formula for the first time in 20 years, a new ad campaign starting today and a new public poll illustrate the wide support and positive effects associated with increasing school funding.
The ads focus on some of the key policies that the new funding formula would support—including expanding career technical education, increasing educator pay, and more equitably and adequately funding schools in every neighborhood. To view the ads, please click here.
New public polling finds strong support among Marylanders for increasing school funding, with 71% favoring the effort “to pass a school funding and policy plan that will significantly increase school funding.” Marylanders have seen the effects of the $2.9 billion in annual underfunding of public schools thanks to an outdated funding formula; 62% agree that Maryland is spending too little on public education while 71% feel that Maryland teachers are not paid enough. Click here to read the full memo for the poll, which was conducted by GBAO Strategies of 500 registered voters from September 9-11.
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to expand career and technical education programs, increase educator pay, better support struggling learners and students with special needs, hire more educators, and more equitably fund schools,” said Baltimore County elementary school teacher and MSEA President Cheryl Bost. “The General Assembly took the first step last year with its near-unanimous, bipartisan vote to pass the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future which adds funding for the next three years. This year we must pass a long-term funding plan that will create lasting educational equity and a more prosperous future for our state.”
The ads, paid for by the Maryland State Education Association, will run for three weeks on network and cable television stations and on a variety of digital platforms across the state. These ads represent real-life situations that Maryland students, educators, and parents face every day that would be improved through increased school funding.
Ad 1: These Maryland tenth graders excel in math. One of them can take construction and trades in their public high school. The other cannot. Students deserve the same opportunity for a bright future—no matter where they live. Tell legislators to give all schools the funding our children deserve.
Ad 2: These Maryland tenth graders excel in science. One of them gets hands-on medical training in her public high school. The other does not. Students deserve the same opportunity for a bright future—no matter where they live. Tell legislators to give all schools the funding our children deserve.
Ad 3: Both of these public school educators help every one of their students reach their full potential. After all, being an educator is a full-time job. But because of low pay, half of all school employees have to work a second job to make ends meet. In Maryland, all educators deserve to make a professional wage, so they can give our children their full time and attention. Tell legislators to give all schools the funding our children deserve.
Ad 4: These moms are doing everything they can to get the best education for their child. But only one of these children gets in-school support for her reading challenges. The other does not. Students deserve the same opportunity for a bright future—no matter where they live. Tell legislators to give all schools the funding our children deserve.
During the 2019 legislative session, the General Assembly passed the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which added $1.1 billion in new school funding over the next three years, including an average 1.5% increase in teacher salaries, funding to expand pre-k and community schools, additional resources for special education and mental health, and more. The Blueprint was passed following the March for Our Schools, the largest rally Annapolis had seen in nearly a decade with more than 8,500 educators, parents, and students from across the state.
The Kirwan Commission is developing final recommendations to address the $2.9 billion in annual underfunding of Maryland’s public schools identified by an independent analysis overseen by the Maryland State Department of Education. The Commission’s recommendations will be taken up by the 2020 General Assembly with the expectation that the state will revise its public school funding formula for the first time in nearly two decades.