School, state leaders speak out about proposed education funding
School and state leaders have begun to speak out about the proposed education funding in Gov. Martin O'Malley's state budget.
In a story by our Maryland Politics Reporter Julie Bykowicz this week, education advocates, school and state leaders, including Baltimore city schools CEO Andres Alonso, outlined how the change in the state's Thornton formula--which has vastly increased education funding in the state in recent years--stands to negatively impact schools districts at a time when the state is reigning the nation in academics.
The story explains how the Thornton formula, passed by the legislature in 2002, was designed to ensure equal opportunities for students by directing more state money per pupil to poorer areas such as Baltimore than to wealthy areas such as Montgomery County.
The new budget proposals appear to undermine that goal, with Baltimore City standing to lose more than $15 million, while Montgomery County gains more than $30 million. Both districts, however, have noted increased enrollments.
Alonso has taken a diplomatic approach in the preliminary discussions about how the school system will mitigate its shortfalls. He said the cuts would, "inevitably mean a loss in services and offerings and an increase in class size in many schools."
"We will clearly look for savings and evaluate all programs in order to ensure that the shortfall does not impact the schools," he said. "But we think it will impact the schools, because every year the cost of doing business increases, and we have reduced the central office so significantly and pushed dollars into schools so much that it will be highly unlikely that a reduction in aid won't have to be absorbed by schools."