ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday he will release $255 million in extra education funding in the next fiscal year to begin implementing a long-term plan to improve Maryland schools, but he expressed concerns about the blueprint approved by lawmakers this year by deciding to let the measure go into law without his signature.
Hogan wrote to leading lawmakers that education remains a top priority and he has supported many initial proposals made by the Kirwan Commission, which has been studying ways to improve the state's schools.
"However, I have significant reservations about your short-sighted methods for implementing the Kirwan Commission's final recommendations — namely that they will lead to massive increases in expenditures without providing the fiscal safeguards and much-needed accountability our students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers deserve," the Republican governor wrote to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Adrienne Jones, who are both Democrats.
In April, the General Assembly approved legislation to begin implementing recommendations made by the commission. That includes raising teacher pay and implementing programs to help low-income and special education students. The money Hogan agreed to release is the first part of about $1.1 billion in funding increases over three years in the legislation.
In March, as lawmakers were in session, thousands of educators from the teachers' union marched outside the State House in a call for increased funding.
Fully implementing the commission's recommendations would cost an estimated $3.8 billion a year in a decade for K-12 education.
Hogan pointed out in his letter that the commission did not agree on new funding formulas to help pay for the increases. The formulas were last raised in 2002. The panel decided to keep working on how the state and local governments will divide that cost.
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