ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland educators gathered in Annapolis on Wednesday to announce a planned rally for school funding.
Dozens of education leaders, all wearing red, gathered at the Maryland State Education Association headquarters.
"We are here today because our schools do not have the funding they need to help us get progress with every student, to ensure their success," said MSEA president, Cheryl Bost.
Bost added Maryland schools are underfunded by $2.9 billion every year, about $2 million on average per school. She also said teachers are underpaid by 25 percent, compared to other professions making it harder to recruit and retain teachers who also have to deal with large class sizes and missing key staff members in school systems, like reading and media specialists.
"We are not asking for much," said Jill Morris, St. Mary's County President. "What we want is to be paid a living wage."
The Kirwin Commission was created to help improve education in the state, but education leaders say it has failed for two years in a row to pass a new school funding formula to address those issues. So those leaders, along with students, are planning a "March for Our Schools" next month, calling for an approved formula no later than the 2020 legislative session.
"We are going to take over Annapolis, and we are going to get your attention and we are going to let you know that we want the best education for our students in our schools," Morris said.
The rally follows the lead of other major demonstrations in states like West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona. Educators say they will not be striking or walking out.
Maryland's "March for Our Schools" will be held on Monday, March 11 at 6 p.m.