Respondents split on response to Kirwan recommendations

Miller / William "Brit" Kirwan / Busch (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

William “Brit” Kirwan, center. (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

Respondents to The Daily Record’s pulse poll are evenly split on what the state should do about the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations. Half, or 24, said the state should seek other sources of revenue aside from new taxes to pay for the recommendations, while 24 said the state shouldn’t implement the recommendations.

The respondents could choose more than one response; 10 said taxes should be increased to pay for the recommendations, while 6 said the timetable for implementing the recommendations should be stretched out to reduce costs.

Members of the Kirwan Commission are working out potential formulas to fund public education in every jurisdiction in the state, while lawmakers are figuring out how to pay for it.

The program to overhaul schools is estimated to cost nearly $4 billion annually once it is fully phased in over a decade. The General Assembly hasn’t said how the program would be paid for. Gov. Larry Hogan said the plan would require increases to sales, personal income or property taxes and promised to oppose them. Sen. Nancy King said she is unsure there’s a will in the Senate to raise taxes.
What should the Maryland General Assembly do about the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations? (Choose all that apply)



BOE needs to account for the current spending. With Baltimore as one of the worst performing systems and the third in the nation cost per pupil, the Commission failed to address this discrepancy.

— Patrick Donoho


Too much money already being squandered on “education” without any real accountability for spending. Stop throwing money at problems rather than fixing them at the source!

— Ruth Foy


This is urgent, and we need to pass it as soon as possible.

— Pat Alt


BOE needs to account for the current spending. With Baltimore as one of the worst performing systems and the third in the nation cost per pupil, the Commission failed to address this discrepancy.

— Patrick Donoho


Look at Baltimore City Schools, #3 funded school in the nation and almost last in results, money is not the answer. The Kirwan Commission is a misguided idea, brought to us by a set of people who are trying to elevate their professional lives through pulling at our heart strings surrounding education of the poor children. Fix Baltimore City and you will find the solution.

— Tony Warner


The educational “system” is out of step with the times. We are in a digital environment and the costs of learning should be much less as new methods and structures for learning unfold. Digital structures and the IoT offer superior access to knowledge that is increasing exponentially. Current outcomes of both secondary and post-secondary are too expensive and the performance of students too poor for a knowledge economy and democratic society.

— Mike Galiazzo


The problem is not the amount spent on education but the way in which it is spent

— Tony McConkey


Marylanders are overtaxed and are casualties of the Federal tax cuts that reduced itemized deductions particularly for state and local taxes. In addition, property taxes and income taxes have gone up at the county level. The costs of the Kirwan commission report need to be reduced and funded over a longer period of time from NEW revenue sources, incl. higher real estate developer fees.

— Morris Segall


Although the intention of the commission is excellent, the Taxpayer burden cannot be overlooked. Additional sources of income should be the alternative; if not, stretch out the timeline

— Wallace Kleid


Maryland cannot afford the massive expenditures that complete implementation of the recommendations would require. It would likely result in both large tax increases and starving other functions of government, both of which would decrease Maryland’s quality of life and competitiveness with neighboring states. Some of the early childhood measures might be worthwhile investments, but otherwise, as demonstrated by the recent PARCC scores in Montgomery County, increased expenditures and programs have had no effect on reducing the achievement gap. Clearly, that gap is the result of factors outside the purview of the school system.

— Dennis Rice


None of the above. It’s time to make sure that every existing education dollar is actually going to classrooms! Enough of education dollars being used for private clubs for Board of Education members, clubs for superintendents, travel to endless conferences, lunches, dinners and other perks for administrators. All of those dollars rob public school children of the funding that is meant for them. It’s time for accountability in education spending.

— Janis Sartucci


I pay what I believe to be a ridiculously significant high taxes now. Do not make it worse.

— Stan Mecinski


A better education system for all is the best pro-growth, pro-business, anti-crime, anti-poverty plan we can have. How can we not do this?

— Saul Gilstein


This state and the education departments of the counties and Baltimore City cannot effectively manage their current budgets. Our children are not getting the education they deserve. We need to get better people into the education system and renew old ideas that worked well to educate generations before.

— Kelly Ernstberger


Our student are our most valuable resource. Investing in our education system particularly early childhood education will pay dividends for years to come.

— Andrew Wilson


Sales tax punishes young parents w/kids and personal income and property taxes are already among the highest in the Nation.

— Patrick Smith


All three of these options should be pursued irrespective of the Kirwan findings, but especially so in light of.

— Rob Johnson


Creating a plan that calls for billions of dollars in additional spending in a state that already overtaxes it’s citizens is the ultimate folly. With a looming probability of recession in the next few years, its nothing less than stupid. When will our elected officials understand that you cannot tax and spend with abandon and expect to foster a robust economy. You will sap the one thing that may provide you with the resources to pay for programs that you want. Then again, alas, you “can’t always get what you want…”

— Kevin Wise


As long as the plan does not contain specific goals and expected outcomes how will we know that an additional $3.8 billion will actually make a difference? The Thornton Commission did not succeed in closing the achievement gap despite the Maintenance of Effort funnding mandate. Why will the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations succeed?

— Joan Fidler
It is irresponsible beyond the point of stupidity to adopt a $1 billion spending plan with no idea how it will be funded. I believe this is what Hogan was thinking when he used the phrase “half baked”. He is absolutely right!

—Scott Cousino


In order to claim “equal opportunity”, and to compete in the world economy, we must make available to every student a world-class education. That we cost a lot, but not as much as not taking this step.

— Terry Cavanagh