By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — State lawmakers reinforced their stance on increased education funding Wednesday, announcing a $2.2 billion school construction plan.

They also committed to funding recommendations for improvements in classroom education.

“I’ve been in the General Assembly since 1970,” Senate President Mike Miller said. “Never in the past 50 years have we had such a commitment to education as we’re going to have this year.”

There will be a $2.2 billion school construction bill, and funding measures to increase the schools operating budget $4 billion by 2030 to fund the Kirwan Commission recommendations to improve Maryland’s public schools.

“Not only pass the bill for school construction for the whole state, but we’ve made a commitment collectively we’re going to fund Kirwan,” Miller said. “We’re going to find a way to make it happen. We’re going to bring the governor along.”

That could take some doing, however, since Gov. Hogan calls the Kirwan Commission the Kirwan tax hike and pubically opposes it. Democratic leaders push back against the notion of a tax hike.

“What the governor talks about, at $6,000 per family, is voodoo,” Delegate Maggie McIntosh said. “It’s just wrong. That would be if we did everything in one day and we’re not.”

There is some agreement on school construction funding. Both the governor and the House proposed bills this year that did not pass. In a statement, Hogan says, “Now that our legislators are finally making school construction a priority, I certainly look forward to working with them to get it done.”

But as for funding Kirwan, they remain at odds.

“We’ve got some innovative ways to fund Kirwar, and we’re going to produce them at the appropriate time as we move the bills forward,” Miller said.

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