ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Hundreds of students, teachers and education advocates rallied Monday in support of a bill that would increase state spending on education by billions of dollars annually.

The legislation is the result of the work of the Kirwan Commission. It asks lawmakers to spend an additional $4 billion annually on education.

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“It’s so significant to show, ‘Wow, people not just in Maryland but people in Baltimore City really need this and they really care,'” said Ahnieyah Owens, a student at Bard High School Early College.

The commission’s funding formula will offer higher teacher salaries, improve college preparatory and career-readiness programs and provide more resources for children living in poverty and those for whom English is not their first language.

Dr. William Kirwan, the commission’s chair, testified in favor of the legislation before a joint hearing of the General Assembly Monday.

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“You can take action that will begin the transformation of our school system from one that is failing way too many of our children into one that gives every child in every zip code to realize his or her full potential,” Kirwan said.

Opponents, including Gov. Larry Hogan, have said the state can’t spend that much without passing the cost on to taxpayers.

Republican Del. Haven Shoemaker, Jr., agreed.

“Even though we can wield the magic pen down here and get few the first few years without raising taxes on folks, there’s no way that we can do that long term,” he said.

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After the hearing, lawmakers will have a chance to go back to their various subcommittees and offer amendments to the legislation before it goes back before the full General Assembly for a vote.