Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) announced Friday his next two budgets will include funding for Kirwan Commission initiatives to expand pre-kindergarten and provide grants to schools with high concentrations of poverty.
Hogan said he will include an additional $130 million for the initiatives and a $1 million fund to allow low-income students to take Advanced Placement tests free of charge.
The pre-kindergarten expansion and concentration of poverty grants were included in legislation passed last year by the General Assembly to begin implementation of education reforms proposed by the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, or Kirwan Commission.
The bill that passed nearly unanimously last year required up to $1 billion in additional education funding over the next three years. Hogan has expressed concerns about the long-term costs of the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations, but allowed the bill to take effect. Additional education funding measures are likely when he releases a proposed budget in January.
“I believe very strongly that every single child in Maryland deserves access to a world-class education, regardless of what neighborhood they happen to grow up in, and that commitment must begin with our youngest Marylanders,” Hogan said in a statement about the funding. “Education has been, and will continue to be, our administration’s highest priority. With this funding, we are reaffirming our commitment to provide increased investment for our schools, more accountability for Maryland parents, teachers, and taxpayers, and most importantly, better results for our children.”