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Who will be accountable for millions in Kirwan Commission school spending?

Maryland gubernatorial candidates Ben Jealous and Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. discuss their views on the Kirwan Commission. (Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun video)

Gov. Larry Hogan is right to worry about education money being squandered and not being used properly. (“Maryland Gov. Hogan to allow $850 million school funding bill to become law without his signature,” May 15). The bill will send hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funding to Maryland public school classrooms. The question is how will the money be spent and who approves its use in each public school district. Giving money is always a good thing in the eyes of the receiver, but ensuring it is properly spent is another matter.

Good planning takes years, and I doubt the school systems are ready for the implementation of the Kirwin Commission recommendations. Are there solid plans for the money? I seriously doubt it, as this is new money that is not even funded yet although available in the budget. As the article states “some have questioned the wisdom of funneling more and more money to schools without making sure it results in academic improvements.” Without proper planning it will not happen. Can we ask in three to five years “what did we accomplish by throwing the money at the school system”? No, by then the money will be forgotten and schools will be still screaming for more money.

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The hiring of an inspector general to investigate complaints of waste and fraud in local school districts is only the first step in the prevention of fraud and waste. But that process takes time and more money. Again, the question in five years is have we made the system better and can we prove it? Implementation of a progress program should be part of the budget process.

Stas Chrzanowski, Baltimore

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