Despite not agreeing to state lawmakers’ approval this year to spend millions of dollars on education, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will allow an education bill to become law.
Lawmakers approved a measure called “The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future” that includes $730 million through 2022 with an additional $130 million if lawmakers can pass legislation next year on how to pay for additional funding. The governor chose not to sign the education bill, but it will still go into law because he didn’t veto it.
The legislation to boost teacher salaries, incorporate a college and career readiness standard by the end of 10th grade and provide resources for students with disabilities stems from recommendations made by the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, also known as the Kirwan Commission, led by William E. “Brit” Kirwan, former chancellor of the University of Maryland System.
According to a letter Hogan sent Wednesday to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Adrienne Jones, the governor said spending more money doesn’t solve problems with accountability.
“Education has been and continues to be my top priority,” Hogan said. “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 for our students, parents, teacher and taxpayers deserve.”
The legislature did approve an inspector general of education to assess waste, fraud and abuse of public money and property. The person would also investigate nonpublic schools that receive state funding.
In addition, that person would serve a five-year term after confirmation by a majority vote of the governor, attorney general, state treasurer and the Senate.
Although Hogan sent the letter Wednesday, he’s currently in Kentucky for a Republican Governor’s Association meeting.
Education was a major topic during the 90-day Maryland General Assembly, with a large rally in Annapolis under the theme “fully fund our schools” taking place in March.
Education advocates have said Maryland schools are underfunded by $2.9 billion annually.
“While educators advocated for a faster implementation timeline at the beginning of the 2019 legislative session, we know this is the boldest phase-in possible given current budget limitations,” Cheryl Bost, president of the Maryland State Education Association, said in a statement. “But we can delay no more. We are ready to work with anyone on the Kirwan Commission or otherwise, including Gov. Hogan, on a fiscally responsible plan to close our multibillion-dollar school funding gap.”