Hutchinson to head school-finance study

May 26, 1993|By John W. Frece | John W. Frece,Staff Writer

Gov. William Donald Schaefer today will name state Chamber of Commerce President Donald P. Hutchinson to chair a new 22-member commission to study Maryland's method of financing public education, government sources confirmed last night.

This will mark the second time that Mr. Hutchinson, a 47-year-old former Democratic state legislator and Baltimore County executive, has chaired a school-financing study committee for Mr. Schaefer. In 1987, he headed a task force that ultimately recommended that Baltimore and the 23 counties share with the state the cost of building public schools.

The new commission he will head will be asked to advise the 1994 General Assembly on how to divide among the 23 counties and Baltimore the more than $2 billion a year the state spends to run the public schools. It also is likely to recommend whether the amount spent should be increased and how to make schools that receive state aid more accountable for the quality of education they offer students.

Others to be named to the commission, sources confirmed, include Goucher College President Rhoda M. Dorsey; First National Bank President Charles W. Cole Jr.; and Susan Leviton, a lawyer and founder of the nonprofit organization Advocates for Children and Youth.

State Schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick and the governor's budget secretary, Charles L. Benton Jr., also will serve on the panel, as will a variety of professional educators, county school superintendents and local school board members.

Eight state legislators, all of whom serve on the General Assembly's budget and tax committees, also will be appointed. They include Senate Budget and Taxation Chairman Laurence Levitan, D-Montgomery, and committee members Barbara A. Hoffman, D-Baltimore, Beatrice Tignor, D-Prince George's, and John A. Cade, R-Anne Arundel.

House members will include Appropriations Chairman Howard P. Rawlings, D-Baltimore, education subcommittee Chairman Timothy F. Maloney, D-Prince George's, and two Montgomery County Democrats from the Ways and Means Committee, Vice Chair Sheila E. Hixson and Del. Henry B. Heller.

One member of the new study commission, Arthur Boyd, executive director of the Maryland Education Coalition, said yesterday, "Any recommendation would have to entail additional resources for education. . . . You can't achieve excellence in one community by taking away funds from another.

"What we would like to do is turn it around: Make it hard for a legislator to oppose adequate funding of education in an election year," he said.

Others expected to be named include: Edward Andrews, a former superintendent of schools in Montgomery County; Caroline County School Superintendent William Ecker; Steve Lenzo, a researcher for the Maryland State Teachers Association; Judy Sachwald, a former education aide to Mr. Schaefer; Valerie V. Cloutier, assistant attorney general in the Department of Education, and two local school officials, Dana Jones of Charles County and Wayne Gursen of Washington County.

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