The heads of three of Maryland’s largest school districts on Monday sent a joint letter to state leaders calling for the restoration of full funding for public schools.
Cuts to education are among the state budget issues to be considered during a special legislation session that begins May 14.
The letter, signed by Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Andrés A. Alonso, Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr and Prince George’s County Public Schools Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr., is addressed to Gov. Martin O’Malley, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael E. Busch.
Click the PDF at the right to read the letter in full.
The letter calls on the General Assembly to address funding formulas for public education, particularly the Geographic Cost of Education Index, which provides extra education funding to jurisdictions where the cost of living is higher.
“The elimination of $93 million in GCEI funding would disproportionately harm our students, our ability to continue to narrow achievement gaps for those students who are minorities and poor, and student performance for the state as a whole,” the schools leaders wrote in the letter.
Baltimore city and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have received the majority of the GCEI money since it was first included in the state budget in fiscal 2009.
Without it “our three districts would sustain 73 percent of what would be a $128.8 million cut to public education,” the schools leaders wrote.
The 2012 regular session adjourned April 9. The legislature could not agree on a budget that avoided massive cuts. The spending plan approved in the session's final hours included $512 million in cuts to public schools, law enforcement and social services.
On Friday, O’Malley (D) said he is calling lawmakers back to Annapolis for a special session to “ensure that Maryland’s Triple A bond rating is protected, and critical investments in public education, public safety, the State’s workforce, and critical social services are restored."
Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that heads of the state's three largest school systems wrote to state leaders. The school districts represented are three of the largest. Baltimore County Public Schools has a larger student population than Baltimore City Public Schools. This version corrects the first paragraph. Patch regrets the error.