I have received many questions about the Kirwan Comission. Some have asked for support and others have concerns.
For those not familiar with Kirwin, it is a commission that was created to look into improving education across the state. William Kirwan, who is Chancellor Emeritus of the University System of Maryland, was named chair of this commission. The Kirwan Commission was made up of a few local school superintendents and some state board members. There are also elected officials on the committee. Kirwan is in the final process of making recommendations.
I agree that our educational system needs to be fixed and I do indeed agree with many of the recommendations in Kirwin. We should try to provide more counseling, give more money to special education, look into helping struggling students and help students prepare for a pathway to vocational training that will lead to good jobs.
But I do have two areas of concern. First, to implement the entire recommendations, this is going to be costly. Some estimates show the Kirwan recommendations will cost the state close to $4.5 billion over the next 10 years . Kirwan could result in a tax increase. This past weekend, Gov. Larry Hogan said he does not support any new tax increases to fund these “fiscally irresponsible proposals”. I agree and I will not support any tax increases for Kirwan or for any other program.
However; my main concern about Kirwan is oversight. There were many good recommendations with the Thornton Commission but many school districts were not held accountable. I do not want to waste taxpayers’ money again. The Governor has put forth legislation which I supported for an independent Inspector General’s oversight of strict accountability of monies being paid to the school systems.
Del. Bob Long