Ocean City Today

Carozza attends Kirwan Commission meeting

By Brian Gilliland | Jan 25, 2018
Mary Beth Carozza

(Jan. 26, 2018) Del. Mary Beth Carozza attended a briefing this past week from the Kirwan Commission, which is expected to deliver a recommendation concerning statewide funding of public schools at the end of the session, prepared for members of the House Appropriations and Ways and Means committees.

“When they do that, it means they’re trying to flag information for us on the spending and tax committees,” Carozza said.

She also said one of the most troubling aspects of the commission’s earlier reports has fallen by the wayside. In it, Denver, Colorado-based APA consultants recommended that Worcester County get no state aid for education funding at all, which would have resulted in a $19 million hole in the schools’ annual budget.

Worcester public schools get 76 percent of their funding from the county, and accounts for about half of Worcester’s annual budget. Last year’s budget was about $200 million.

“That was a recommendation made by a consultant and hasn’t been included in the report,” Carozza said. “The committee has moved on from that.”

She said she was encouraged by the presentation by committee chair William “Brit” Kirwan, where he stressed not how much money was spent, but how the money was spent.

“The draft Kirwan report points out that despite a significant increase in state funding over the past 15 years, Maryland students still perform in the middle of the pack within the United States,” Carozza said. “The report calls for systemic change which will ‘require an increased investment by the state,’ but does not indicate an amount at this point in the Commission’s ongoing work.”

Carozza said local buy in and local control are absolutely necessary for the committee work to be useful and fair to all students and school systems in the state.

She said the committee’s final report would be based upon close examinations of a number of headings including early childhood education, at risk students and teacher availability.

She said school curricula would be matched to international standards, and focus on well-defined career and college pathways.

“I want to make sure students come out career ready,” she said.

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