ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland would invest $130 million more for pre-K and other education priorities, under a plan announced Friday by Gov. Larry Hogan.
Hogan, a Republican, said more than $100 million would be dedicated over the next two years to expand access to early support and interventions for young children and their families.
"I believe very strongly that every single child in Maryland deserves access to world-class education, regardless of what neighborhood they happen to grow up in, and that commitment must begin with our youngest Marylanders," Hogan said in a statement.
Hogan also said he would commit more than $30 million over two years to fund Concentration of Poverty Grants to provide full-time coverage of health care practitioners and community school coordinators. The money would enable extended learning time, transportation to school and additional social workers, mentors, counselors and psychologists, the governor's office said.
Hogan also said he would commit more than $1 million to provide low-income students in Maryland access to AP tests free of charge, covering the costs of more than 25,500 AP exams.
The announcement comes as education funding is expected to be a top issue when the Maryland General Assembly convenes in January for its 90-day annual session.
Last week, Hogan proposed allocating $3.8 billion for Maryland school construction over five years and a separate measure to increase accountability in academic performance.
The legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, will be considering the first update to Maryland's education funding formula since 2002, as well as wide-ranging recommendations that include raising teacher salaries, expanding pre-K and steering more money to struggling schools.
While Hogan has expressed support for many of the recommendations made by a state commission, he has criticized the panel for failing to identify how to pay for it all. Implementing all of the commission's recommendations has been estimated to cost about $4 billion more in a decade.
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