Propose amendments to Kirwan legislation to provide immediate relief to classrooms

News Release, House Minority Caucus

ANNAPOLIS, MD Members of the House Minority Caucus today offered a series of amendments to improve legislation implementing the Kirwan Commission recommendations (HB 1300). Over the course of almost three hours of debate, caucus members offered fourteen amendments covering a wide variety of issues. 

Included in the amendments was a measure requiring a pause in the program if academic outcomes did not improve by at least 25% in five years. 

“It is my hope that this bill succeeds and we do not have to take this step,” said Chief Deputy Minority Whip Jason Buckel. I hope the advocates are right and this works, but if it doesn’t, we need a mechanism to ensure meaningful accountability.” 

On the heels of the defeat of legislation ushering in the largest tax increase in Maryland’s history, an amendment was offered to state it was the intent of the General Assembly not to raise taxes over the next four years. 

“After the recent Kirwan tax proposals, we have seen that Marylanders across the state are absolutely outraged by the idea of tax increases.  The massive outreach and testimony we had recently showed that” said Delegate Mike Griffith, who offered the amendment. “A Gonzales poll in January found that 94% of Maryland voters believe they pay enough or too much in taxes. When asked specifically if they are willing to pay higher taxes to increase education spending, 52% say no. Whether we crush Marylanders with one massive tax increase or 43 small increases, the net effect is the same.”

Other amendments offered would provide immediate relief to teachers and students in classrooms across the state. These amendments addressed chronically disruptive students as well as provided relief for children trapped in failing schools. 

“I know in my heart that every member of this body wants our children to be successful,” said House Minority Leader Nic Kipke. “No matter how they may feel about this bill or how they may ultimately vote, every one of us agrees on the destination, even if we do not agree on the best road to get there.”

The amendments were defeated. While some received bipartisan support, most fell on a party-line vote. 

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...