Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday announced a $3.8 billion proposal to more than clear local school systems' capital funding requests. Hogan also announced a measure to allow communities to take over struggling schools.
"Education has been and will continue to be our administration's highest priority because I believe very strongly that every single child in Maryland deserves a world-class education, regardless of what neighborhood they happened to grow up in," Hogan said.
The state has received a total of $3.7 billion in requests from school systems, Hogan said.
"No governor in the history of our state has ever invested more in K through 12 education," Hogan said.
Hogan also announced a proposal, modeled on a similar law in Massachusetts, to allow schools that get two straight one-star ratings under the Maryland State Board of Education's annual report card to be designated "innovation schools" and be taken over by community leaders. While the schools would still get state funding, community members would be empowered to make sweeping changes.
"Their kids are the ones who have been cheated, so we think they should have a say over their future," Hogan said.
The Massachusetts law allows innovation schools to be established by parents, teachers, administrators, teacher unions or outside academic or nonprofit groups. A case study conducted by the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy looked at two innovation schools and found that the reforms led to higher academic achievement, low teacher turnover and a better school climate. For example, staff members were able to expand support for students with disabilities and English-language learners, and use assessment data to enrich instruction for high-achieving students.
During the same press conference, Hogan also reiterated objections to the $4 billion price tag on the Kirwan Commission's recommendations for education reforms, arguing neither the commission nor lawmakers have found a way to pay for the reforms without raising taxes. The commission recommended the state bear $2.8 billion of the cost, with the remainder shared among local governments.
Lawmakers will consider Hogan's proposals and the commission's recommendations when the legislative session begins next month.