Despite stimulus, schools could still suffer
Arne Duncan is to appear at Doswell E. Brooks Elementary School in Prince George's County this morning to announce how states and school districts can begin receiving the first installment of federal stimulus money. Gov. O'Malley and Nancy Grasmick are scheduled to be there, too.
A press release from the governor's office points out that in Prince George's County, administrators plan to use stimulus money "to avoid employee furloughs, layoffs, increases in class sizes and other education program cuts." That is true. But it's also true that such cuts could happen anyway in Prince George's if the state operating budget proposed by the Senate's budget and tax committee and now before the full chamber were to be adopted. I'm told P.G. stands to lose about $22 million next year. The ACLU of Maryland, which is tracking this carefully, said yesterday that the city could take an $18 million hit; yesterday I reported it would be at least $12 million. The House version of the bill contains some of the cuts, but not the biggest ones: a reduction in GCEI funding from 100 percent to 60 percent next year, and a continued cap on inflation increases for school districts in fiscal years 2011 and 2012.
Like the last time education cuts were proposed (only to be rescinded because of the stimulus), it seems the state's two neediest jurisdictions would suffer a disproportionate share of the pain. Montgomery County would take a big hit, too.