MSEA Statement on Board of Public Works Rejecting Gov. Hogan’s School Funding Cuts

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Adam Mendelson

The following statement may be attributed to Baltimore County elementary school teacher and Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost:

“The rejection of Gov. Hogan’s attempt to defund our public schools during the middle of a pandemic is a win—but it’s incredibly disappointing that the governor tried this in the first place. Educators should be focusing on how to ensure the safety and success of our students next year, rather than organizing to stop cuts to our already underfunded schools. We thank Comptroller Franchot and Treasurer Kopp for opposing these dangerous cuts and call on the General Assembly to continue to reject cuts to our schools and to override Gov. Hogan’s misguided veto of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future and improved funding for all schools.

“We can’t do more with less. We can’t close expanding gaps in equity with inequitable and inadequate funding. We can’t accept the governor undercutting the safety of educators and students by trying to defund public schools. We need to rise to the moment and give all students the support they deserve. Rest assured that educators will step up; we hope that our elected officials at all levels will do so as well.”

From when the governor’s cuts were released on Friday, Maryland educators and public education supporters sent more than 18,000 emails to Comptroller Franchot and Treasurer Kopp urging them to stand against the cuts. MSEA also saw record engagement on social media, including more than 655,000 impressions and 6,700 retweets on our Twitter thread breaking down the governor’s cuts.

Background

After Comptroller Franchot and Treasurer Kopp announced their opposition to the education cuts, they were pulled from the BPW agenda this morning. Therefore, approximately 95% of Gov. Hogan’s proposed education cuts were rejected, including:

  • $12.4 million in disparity grants to less affluent jurisdictions that are often used to fund education.
  • $71.8 million in teacher retirement contributions, including teacher retirement supplemental grants; these grants were established when the state shifted pension costs to local governments. Counties would still need to come up with these funds, so these cuts would turn into a new liability for local governments and potential cuts to local education funding or funding for other essential services.
  • Approximately $25 million in other cuts, including to the Healthy School Facilities Fund and limiting reimbursement for child care subsidy providers.

Beyond the cuts that had been proposed to BPW today, the governor has also proposed $233 million in future cuts that would need to be considered by the legislature in the form of a Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act during a future legislative session. These cuts include:

  • $201 million cut in statewide K-12 school funding aid, impacting every jurisdiction in the state
  • $32 million cut in capital improvements for schools, including a $21 million cut to the Healthy School Facilities Fund and $8 million to Public School Safety

Educators will remain vigilant in fighting against these cuts if they are considered by the legislature.

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