FCTA says participants to discuss the importance of increasing school funding for local students.
Frederick, Md (KM) Funding for education will be discussed at a forum Tuesday night in Frederick. It’s sponsored by the Coalition for Blueprints for Maryland’s Future, which is the name of a law passed by th Maryland General Assembly.
Missy Dirks, the President of the Frederick County Teachers Association, says the Coalition is looking at recommendations from Maryland’s Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, which is known more as the Kirwan Commission, after the chair, William “Brit” Kirwan. “This Commission had an independent audit of Maryland schools, and they found that Maryland Schools are underfunded by $2.9-billion annually,:” she said. She says that’s an average cost of $2-million for each school in Frederick County and the rest of the state.
In addition to that, Dirks says funding formulas for public schools have not kept pace. “They have not been updated in decades,” she says. “The cost of education, the cost of doing business, has changed in the last 20 years.”
Dirks says this forum comes in advance of the 2020 General Assembly Session. Legislators are expected to work on revising the school funding formulas for the first time in 20 years.
The Kirwan Commission spent two years investigating the best ways to improve education, and earlier this year, came up with seven recommendations:
1.Free full-day preschool for 3 and 4-year olds living 300% below the poverty level;
2. More money for tutoring;
3. Improving teacher education and pay;
4, Setting and regulating standards for college and career readiness;
5. Adding supplemental reading instruction;
6. Providing trade and technical education;
7. Allocating money to schools on a sliding scale based on concentration of students living in poverty.
In 2019, the Maryland General Assembly funded the first of the Commission’s recommendations with $350-million down payment. Over the next 10 years, legislators are expected to put $2.9-billion dollars toward those reforms.
Both the state and the local school districts will be sharing the costs of implementing these recommendations.
Dirks says the forum would be of interest not only for families with children in local public schools, but residents who don’t have kids in the schools. “The quality of education affects the entire community,”: she says. “How well our students are education will then translate into how well they’ll be able to get jobs in the future.
The forum will be held on Tuesday, October 29th at the Delaplaine Art Center at 405 South Carroll Street beginning at 7:00 PM.
By Kevin McManusw