New Faces Coming to Kirwan Commission

    Two new faces will be at the table when the Commission for Innovation and Excellence in Education meets in Annapolis on Friday.

    Sens. William C. Ferguson IV (D-Baltimore City) and Ronald N. Young (D-Frederick) were named to the commission to replace former senators Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery) and Stephen M. Waugh (R-St. Mary’s and Calvert).

    The appointments were made by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) earlier this month.

    The commission is set to meet Friday afternoon to finalize a report to the General Assembly on recommended policy changes within Maryland’s public education system. The commission has been refining recommendations to bring sweeping changes to early childhood education, career and technology programs and increased teacher salaries; the price tag for the recommendations is expected to be around $3.8 billion annually after a 10-year rollout.

    However, the report being finalized on Friday is expected to be incomplete. The legislature’s presiding officers delivered a letter to the panel last month extending its work for a year after it became clear that the commission would not have time to complete the work of rewriting state education funding formulas.

    The presiding officers asked the commission’s chairman, William E. “Brit” Kirwan, to create a smaller work group to hash out details on the funding formulas over the next year, with the full commission expected to debate the recommendations and vote in the fall of 2019.

    Ferguson said he’s attended or watched most of the commission’s meetings so far and is excited to get started as a formal member on Friday.

    “I think the goal is to get the ball across the finish line,” Ferguson said. Asked whether he would be part of the workgroup dedicated to funding recommendations by 2020, Ferguson hinted that the commission may continue working on those recommendations for this year.

    “Never say never,” he said.

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    Danielle E. Gaines
    Danielle Gaines most recently worked for Bethesda Beat covering Montgomery County. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at the Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.