ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — A Maryland commission on education has approved a plan to update the state’s funding formula to increase teacher pay and improve schools.

The panel voted 19-3 Thursday for wide-ranging recommendations, which now go to the legislature.

Under the plan, Maryland would phase in billions of dollars in additional spending. About $4 billion annually would be added annually a decade from now for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

The recommendations cover five major policy areas. They include investing in early childhood education and increasing teacher pay. The others include implementing rigorous curricula, providing more support for struggling schools and creating accountability for underperformance.

The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education has been working for more than three years on the recommendations.

Maryland last updated the state’s funding formula in 2002.

Education advocacy groups applauded the panel’s vote, while Republican Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement saying the commission “has still failed to produce any plan to pay for its massive spending proposals, which will cost taxpayers more than $30 billion.”

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