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Baltimore City School Educators, Students Urge Lawmakers To Adopt Kirwan Plan

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Schools educators and students are urging lawmakers Monday to come together to adopt the Kirwan Commission's Plan.

"In Chicago, Memphis, Detroit and Baltimore, we remain separate and unequal," said Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen, (D-1).

At a Martin Luther King Day service project, teachers and politicians joined students to clean the Stadium School.

"They are here on their day off to service the school that's underserviced, underfunded and doesn't have the proper resources," said teacher and former NFL player Joel Gamble.

City Schools officials said increased funding is imperative considering its aging schools and environmental obstacles for students.

"While it is always powerful to have young people advocating for themselves, I am old school. I believe it is the duty of adults to lead in a way that young people can actually focus on learning," said Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises.

"They need funding in the schools. I see teachers not having proper salaries. Kids don't have heating/air conditioning." Gamble said.

"Our children don't just deserve Kirwan, but demand Kirwan," Cohen said.

The state's Kirwan Commission recommends an additional $3.8 billion annually be spent on education, but there's a debate on how it will be funded.

"The current commission (Kirwin) looked at our state and asked, in the state of Maryland, are we doing enough for our children?' And, the clear answer is 'No.' We need to do a better job. There are too many kids that aren't getting the quality of education that every child deserves." said former U.S. Education Secretary Dr. John King.

Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan touted record funding in his budget proposal but has said the Kirwan Plan amounts to a substantial tax hike.

"The state should not and can not simply increase $33 billion in new spending that we do not have without any plan whatsoever about where the funding is going to come from," Hogan said.

One of the recommendations from the Kirwan Commission includes Pre-K for all four-year-olds and preschool for three-year-olds from low-income families.

Some of the students who volunteered Monday will be in Annapolis next week to lobby lawmakers to implement Kirwan's recommendations.

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