OPINION: Fully Funding Our Schools - Southern Maryland Headline News

OPINION: Fully Funding Our Schools

By Martin O'Malley, Governor

Last week, we announced our plan to continue investing in Maryland's public schools using more than $720 million in federal funds thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. These funds have been available to improve public education and make college education more affordable, and that's exactly what we intend to do. With these targeted investments we will:

-- Continue to fully-fund all the components of the Thornton education formula;

-- Fully-fund growth in teacher retirement and pensions for the next two years;

-- and fully-fund the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) at 100 percent in 2010 and 2011.

In Maryland, we understand that in order to have one of the strongest economies in the world we need to have one of the most highly skilled workforces in the world. So during the past two years, working together as One Maryland we've made historic, unprecedented investments in K-12 education. The O'Malley-Brown Administration is the first to fund GCEI at any level, and now we are able to fulfill our commitment to our schools and local jurisdictions by funding it at 100 percent.

The results are clear: the #1 public school system in America according to Education Week, a number one national ranking for Advanced Placement scores among our high school students, record MSA scores, and an achievement gap that is getting smaller and smaller.

These federal funds will also be used to increase community college funding by five percent for the next two years and eliminate a proposed 700 state layoffs.

This week, with other Governors from across the United States, I met with President Obama to discuss Maryland's plan to invest in public education, and create or save thousands of jobs using these recovery and reinvestment dollars. Consistent with President Obama's vision, Maryland will invest in every school system in Maryland and make strategic investments to rebuild Maryland's economic infrastructure and create jobs.

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