Public School Finance. Maryland's effort to level the playing field.




Bloomberg Businessweek February 17, 2020 Economics “Can Maryland Defuse the Inequality ‘Time Bomb’?” “The state legislature is weighing a propose to make education more fair”.


In America, public schools are typically funded by the state (47%), local property tax (36%), other local revenue (9%) and the federal government (8%). In poor areas like urban Baltimore and rural Maryland like Crellin-“a village of 260 people, [that] sits on a reclaimed coal-loading site in the Appalachian Mountains” local property tax revenue is low. Without sufficient funding, the school facility, teachers, staff and students do their best but performance is substandard-“...there’s no money for tutors and funds for the school’s math academy have dried up”. The tragic and unfair end result is that underfunded school systems “produce poor adults” and less capable workers.


Educational leaders are partnering with the Maryland legislature to get approved the “adding [of] $4 billion a year by the end of the decade”. Such an infusion will add needed programs like “full-day prekindergarten….an expansion of family support centers and improved pay and career paths for teachers. Schools with a high concentration of poverty would [also] get counseling and health services”. Under this proposal, the state of Maryland would pay for most of the program in part by redistributing funds from high property tax locales to areas with low property tax funding. Raising local property tax rates is another possible source of more funding but many worry that raising local rates would negatively impact business.

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