Scaling back on Thornton cuts
I'm still trying to get a handle on the specifics, and negotiations in the House/Senate conference committee are still ongoing, but lawmakers in Annapolis are backing down from the most severe cuts the Senate proposed for education. It sounds like they're getting the message that the federal government will withhold the second year of stimulus money from states that slash education spending and try to use the stimulus dollars to make up the difference.
UPDATE: I've learned -- and apparently the legislators in Annapolis have, too -- that the stimulus contains language prohibiting cuts to state education funding formulas after October 2008 if schools are to receive the federal dollars. However, the conference committee is planning to limit inflation increases to 1 percent the year the stimulus runs out, in fiscal 2012, which would prompt cuts at that time.