Bai­ley, Crosby in­trigued by Kir­wan ideas

New leg­is­la­tors will join Mor­gan, Clark in An­napo­lis next week for start of 90-day ses­sion

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JACQUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­[email protected]­

St. Mary’s state lead­ers, in­clud­ing the county’s two newly elected leg­is­la­tors, are gear­ing up for the 2019 leg­isla­tive ses­sion, where pol­icy mak­ers will dis­cuss the Kir­wan com­mis­sion’s pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion rec­om­men­da­tions.

Se­nate Pres­i­dent Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert, Charles, Prince Ge­orge’s) said dur­ing a phone call Thurs­day that state law­mak­ers will be dis­cussing and im­ple­ment­ing some of the rec­om­mended poli­cies, but won’t dis­cuss how to change the fund­ing for­mula. He said the com­mis­sion hasn’t “come up with a fund­ing for­mula yet” and state law­mak­ers were hop­ing to have num­bers nailed down by the end of this leg­isla­tive ses­sion in March. He said law­mak­ers would also at­tempt to “get costs un­der con­trol. “We’re not go­ing back­wards,” he said. Com­mis­sion mem­bers were asked to con­tinue work­ing on the school fund­ing for­mula rec­om­men­da­tions, which is the sec­ond time up­dates to the fund­ing sys­tem have been de­layed.

The group, known as the Com­mis­sion

on In­no­va­tion and Ex­cel­lence in Ed­u­ca­tion, formed in 2016 to ad­dress the state’s fund­ing for­mula for pub­lic schools and other ways to help to­day’s stu­dents have a bet­ter chance at be­ing col­lege and ca­reer ready af­ter high school. The for­mula has not been up­dated since the early 2000s.

Rec­om­men­da­tions that have sur­faced in­clude uni­ver­sal prekinder­garten and in­creases in teacher pay. Ac­cord­ing to a let­ter signed by Miller and Speaker of the House Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arun­del), the com­mis­sion has been asked to con­tinue work­ing on fund­ing for­mula rec­om­men­da­tions through the fall be­cause “it would be very dif­fi­cult for the Gen­eral As­sem­bly to com­plete work on both the pol­icy frame-

work of the com­mis­sion’s rec­om­men­da­tions and a fund­ing for­mula.”

The 90-day Gen­eral As­sem­bly ses­sion starts next Wed­nes­day, Jan. 9.

Sen­a­tor-elect Jack Bai­ley (R) said in an email Thurs­day that the de­lay would be “dis­ap­point­ing … but it is im­por­tant that the leg­is­la­ture pro­vides the proper fund­ing for­mula to im­prove ed­u­ca­tion in the State of Mary­land.”

He said he’s go­ing to be “an ad­vo­cate for more fund­ing for our ru­ral coun­ties, and work to en­sure no un­funded man­dates.”

Bai­ley said he was sched­uled to meet Thurs­day with teach­ers and other school ad­min­is­tra­tors re­gard­ing ed­u­ca­tion pri­or­i­ties and needs dur­ing the leg­isla­tive ses­sion. About teacher salaries, Bai­ley said “based on the im­por­tance of their pro­fes­sion in to­day’s so­ci­ety, they de­serve

higher com­pen­sa­tion.”

Jack Bai­ley is mar­ried to Karin Bai­ley, chair of the St. Mary’s school board.

The sen­a­tor said “ev­ery­one can’t af­ford pri­vate pre-K,” and the classes should be re­garded as an “im­por­tant part of child de­vel­op­ment.” He said while he sup­ported of­fer­ing the classes to ev­ery­one, ad­di­tional fund­ing would need to be made avail­able for both Calvert and St. Mary’s coun­ties.

Jack Bai­ley said he will sup­port im­prov­ing school safety and “ini­tia­tives that pro­vide ad­di­tional fund­ing [to] give par­ents and chil­dren the peace of mind” that schools are a safe learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

Del­e­gate-elect Brian Crosby (D) said dur­ing a phone in­ter­view Thurs­day the fund­ing rec­om­men­da­tions are a “mon­u­men­tal change” and leg­is­la­tors need to en­sure the process is done care­fully. He said he

would rather have “one shot to get it right [in­stead of] rush­ing to fail­ure.”

He said he’s con­tin­u­ing to meet and dis­cuss with teach­ers and par­ents about what he can do to im­prove ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing, and said he would like to see more re­sources go to teach­ers in the class­room and aim for the Kir­wan com­mis­sion rec­om­men­da­tions.

“The ear­lier you can start on ed­u­ca­tion, the more re­turns you’ll have,” Crosby said, adding the ad­di­tional class­room time would help “bridge the gap” for stu­dents from eco­nom­i­cally dis­ad­van­taged fam­i­lies.

Of in­creas­ing teacher pay, Crosby said those in the ed­u­ca­tion pro­fes­sion are un­der­val­ued and de­serve to be rec­og­nized for their skills. He said he would also sup­port pro­vid­ing broad­band in­ter­net ac­cess for ru­ral coun­ties so chil­dren can com­plete on­line projects as as- signed.

Crosby said he’s not yet heard of ad­di­tional school se­cu­rity leg­is­la­tion, but he and other elected of­fi­cials “will do our home­work … when the is­sues come up.”

Crosby said he con­tin­ues to sup­port hir­ing ad­di­tional psy­chol­o­gists to help chil­dren through so­ci­etal is­sues that they may not have some­one to talk with, like “not know­ing when their next meal is” or bul­ly­ing.

Del. Matt Mor­gan (R-St. Mary’s) said in a text he was not sit­ting in com­mit­tees this ses­sion that would dis­cuss Kir­wan com­mis­sion rec­om­men­da­tions or po­ten­tial school safety leg­is­la­tion. He had no other com­ment on the com­mis­sion.

Del. Ger­ald “Jerry” Clark (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert) did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

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