The Public Funding for Public Schools Coalition held a press conference Tuesday February 28, 2017 to call on the Maryland General Assembly to defund Governor Hogan’s BOOST funding in his budget. The coalition brought together a wide range of educational advocates who all want to see public dollars be used on public schools. Among the elected officials in attendance were Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker. AFT-Maryland was represented by Executive Secretary-Treasurer Kenya Campbell. MSEA President Betty Weller spoke as did Tishan Weerasooriya on behalf of ACLU-Maryland. Elizabeth Leight, the President of Maryland PTA and Benjamin Jealous former President of the NAACP also gave remarks supporting the call for Governor Hogan to spend Maryland tax dollars on Maryland public schools.
Each speaker gave remarks that spoke specifically to how the Governor should use public money on public education. Campbell recalled her days as a classroom teacher and the times she and her colleagues had to go into their own pockets to pay for various resources and supplies that her students badly needed. She also reminded those gathered that Baltimore City is already reeling from $42 million in cuts to education funding in the Governor’s budget. All of that is cast against the backdrop of the city school system suggesting up to 1,000 layoffs of teachers and educational professionals could come in the face of a $130 million deficit.
Campbell made the point that with all of that facing Baltimore City Public Schools students and a host of other challenges facing jurisdictions across the state, it made no sense to take public money and give it to non-public schools. The General Assembly is expected to take up the issue of BOOST funding when it reconciles the Governor’s budget sometime in March.