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Maryland legislation adds $850 million in school funding over 2 years

Maryland legislation adds $850 million in school funding over 2 years

Gov. Larry Hogan allows the school funding bill to become law despite "significant reservations."

A bill that will provide $850 million in additional funding to Maryland public schools will become law without the governor's signature.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the legislation, dubbed the “Blueprint for Maryland’s Future,” will direct $850 million in extra state spending to public schools over the next two years. The money will will be disbursed to school districts beginning in July 2020.

Gov. Larry Hogan decided to let the bill become law without his signature despite having “significant reservations” about some of its elements.

In a letter to legislative leaders, Hogan expresses concern that the bill doesn’t include a long-term funding solution for public school improvement and lacks sufficient “academic accountability” to make sure the extra spending results in academic gains..

Legislative leaders dismissed Hogan’s concerns that the spending plan wasn’t funded, noting that there is money in the budget for the two-year plan. They invited Hogan to appear before a commission that’s studying education to offer his ideas for a long-term funding plan.

The education funding bill is intended as a first step toward extensive education reforms being developed by a commission studying how to best improve Maryland schools.

The extra money will help pay for some of the needs identified by the commission: increasing teacher pay, expanding prekindergarten and creating “community schools” in high-poverty areas. Community schools provide additional services to students and their families, such as health care.

The commission has suggested the state needs to funnel billions more into public schools over the next decade. Commission members are still working to figure out how to provide funds on a long-term basis.

The Maryland governor has three choices when presented bills passed by the General Assembly: veto, sign into law or allow to automatically become law without a signature. Hogan has used the option of not signing bills as a way to express concern or disagreement with bills, without going so far as vetoing them.

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