The additional spending would be split between the state government and local government. Baltimore City would be expected to eventually put more than $300 million extra a year into public schools by 2030.
Now, lawmakers are proposing changes to funding formulas that would take into account the challenges some local jurisdictions face in raising more money.
The revised formula would take the local share of the Kirwan programs and divide it by a figure that represents a jurisdiction’s wealth. The resulting ratio would show which jurisdictions would have a more difficult time raising money for education, and they would be eligible for more state contributions.
Baltimore City and Prince George’s County would be the biggest beneficiaries of the extra state aid. The counties of Allegany, Baltimore, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Washington and Wicomico also would stand to gain.
“It achieves what the [Kirwan] commission set out from the beginning … to ensure there is parity across the board,” said Del. Alonzo T. Washington, a Prince George’s County Democrat who is proposing the change in his role as an education subcommittee chairman.
The result of the change in the formula would mean that the state’s share of the Kirwan programs — previously estimated at $2.8 billion annually by 2030 — would increase by $369 million.
Baltimore City officials are cautiously optimistic the proposed change would alleviate the burden on the city.
“The leadership has done a good job of figuring out how to blunt the impact,” said Lester Davis, a spokesman and lobbyist for Democratic Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young.
Davis said Young and city officials are committed to putting more money into education. But the city already charges the maximum local income tax and its property tax is the highest in the state, making it difficult to raise more money.
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Prince George’s County officials are waiting to see more details and how the finances will shake out with the proposed plan. But they’re optimistic that the changes will result in plans that are “equitable and sustainable for everyone,” said John Erzen, deputy chief of staff to County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.
“We haven’t seen everything yet,” Erzen said. “We certainly think that with what we’ve seen thus far that we’re headed in the right direction.”
The change in the funding rules is among more than 300 amendments to the Kirwan Commission bill that lawmakers are considering. A pair of House of Delegates subcommittees is scheduled to consider and potentially vote Monday on the amendments.