School funding commission members named, first meeting set


All but two of the 26 members on the new commission on school funding have now been named, and it will hold its first meeting Sept. 29.

Former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan was named chair last month in an unusual joint appointment by the governor, Senate president and House speaker.

Two bills,  HB999/SB905, set up the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education to review all the hotly contested formulas on school funding, the biggest chunk of state aid that goes to the counties, $6.3 billion a year.

The commission recommendations due in December 2017 will potentially kick off contentious debates in the election-year legislative session in 2018 as representatives fight for formulas that help their local schools.

Numerous stakeholder groups were allowed to choose their own representatives to the commission. Besides the chair, the legislature’s presiding officers got to name 10 of its 26 members, and the governor only got to name two, in addition to his budget secretary, who serves ex officio.

UPDATE: The organizational meeting will be held Sept. 29, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., House Appropriations Committee, Room 120.

Here are the commission members with links to their bios when available.

Chair William ‘Brit” Kirwan

The four senators named by Senate President Mike Miller are:

Senator Nancy King, D-Montgomery, chair of the education budget subcommittee;

Sen. Richard Madaleno, D-Montgomery, vice chair, Budget & Taxation Committee;

Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s, vice chair, Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee (EHE);

Sen. Steve Waugh, R-St. Mary’s, member, EHE, and the only Republican legislator on the commission;

The four delegates named by House Speaker Michael Busch are:

Del. Adrienne Jones, D-Baltimore County, speaker pro-tem and chair, education appropriations subcommittee;

Del. Anne Kaiser, D-Montgomery, House majority leader and chair of the education subcommittee, House Ways & Means;

Del. Maggie McIntosh, D-Baltimore, chair, House Appropriations Committee;

Del. Alonzo Washington, D-Prince George’s, member, House Ways & Means;

Serving ex officio on the commission are:

Secretary of Budget and Management David Brinkley;

University System Chancellor Robert Caret;

State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon.

Other members and their affiliations where known:

Donna Brightman, president, Washington County Board of Education (representing Maryland Association of Boards of Education);

Chester Finn, member, Maryland State Board of Education;

Stephen Guthrie, superintendent of Carroll County Public Schools (representing Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland);

David Helfman, executive director, Maryland State Education Association (MSEA);

Kalman Hettleman, former member of Baltimore school board and Maryland Human Resources Secretary;

Elizabeth Ysla Leight, parent of student and president, Maryland PTA;

Leslie Pellegrino, chief financial officer, Frederick County Public Schools (representing Association of School Business Officials);

Craig Rice, D, Montgomery County Council member (representing urban county, Maryland Association of County, MACo);

Morgan Showalter, a high school special educator in the Baltimore City Public Schools (representing American Federation of Teachers.)

William Valentine, R, member, Allegany County Board of County Commissioners (MACo rural county);

Margaret Williams, executive director, Maryland Family Network (representing group that advocates for public education, appointed by the state superintendent).


  1. Diogenes

    Uhhh……Vidi — they all are taxpayers.

  2. Vidi

    And which group is not represented? The taxpayer! Hold on to your wallets. There will be some pricey recommendations coming out of a group that wholly represents the educational establishment.

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