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Schools Plan Wins Preliminary Approval in Senate

Rachel Baye

The state Senate gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that aims to reshape the way Maryland approaches public education.

The bill came out of recommendations by the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, better known as the Kirwan Commission. It’s named, “The Education Blueprint for Maryland’s Future,” and it’s meant to be that — a blueprint. Or as Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee Chairman Paul Pinsky put it, it’s a “down payment” on a 10-year plan.

“So essentially, if we pass this bill and stay on course, it will be 11 years out ‘til we fully implement it with the cost and all the recommendations,” he told the Senate Tuesday.

The bill expands full-day prekindergarten, raises teacher pay, and for schools with high levels of poverty, it creates grants to hire on-site health care providers, among other things.

Although lawmakers have allocated more than $200 million for the first year, they don’t have a plan for how to pay for future years.

At the end of the 10-year phase-in, the price tag is more than $3 billion dollars annually.

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