The Commission on Innovation & Excellence in Education hired the firm, Augenblick, Palaich and Associates to review Maryland state education spending. The Baltimore schools are facing a $129 million budget deficit, raising questions to why the state isn’t paying its fair share to educate city students. The consultants released a study earlier this month, determining that the state needs to spend $2.6 billion a year, the funds should be utilized to educate all students in ever jurisdiction.
The imbalance is higher in Baltimore, which is a poor area that is bearing more of the financial responsibilities than it can afford. The consultants developed a complex formula that would give Baltimore an additional $434 million a year, a 70 percent increase, along with reducing the city’s contribution by $5 million, a 3 percent decrease.
The state contributes about three-fourths of the Baltimore school systems’ budget. The 2001 study, completed by the consultants, gave all the public schools in the state an additional $1.6 billion between 2002 and 2008. The state is facing an approximately $800 million budget shortfall, making lawmakers question whether the additional funds were necessary.
The General Assembly will utilize the study to decide how the state will pay for education. Changes to the state funding formulas are not expected near year, but lawmakers will soon need to decide how much they are willing to help Baltimore.