ANNAPOLIS, MD – In response to Governor Hogan’s proposal to significantly cut funding for Black and Brown student education as part of Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, despite a $4.6 billion surplus in the state, the Maryland Alliance for Racial Equity in Education (MAREE) released the statement at a press conference today.
“We work to eliminate policies and practices that perpetuate systemic racism targeting Black and Brown people,” said sharlimar douglas, Chair of MAREE. “The Governor’s budget omits a large pot of funding intended for Black and Brown students in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. This cannot stand. The Governor and the Maryland General Assembly have a responsibility to the students of Maryland to pass a supplemental budget in the amount of $140 million as dictated by the Blueprint law.”
The Blueprint law included a provision called the Education Effort Adjustment that directs additional state funding to jurisdictions with low wealth to ensure that they can meet their funding contribution requirements to their school systems. Of the $140 million left out of the budget, $99 million was slated for Baltimore City and $26.5 million for Prince George’s County under the Education Effort Adjustment. These districts have the largest percentage of Black student enrollment in the state. Further, Baltimore City’s special education population is among the highest in the state, while Prince George’s County has the second largest population of Latinx students and English Language Learners.
“The underfunding of Baltimore City schools is a perennial crisis,” said Jamal Jones, Executive Director of the Algebra Project. “We hear a lot about accountability from our government leaders. But accountability is a two-way street and the state is not upholding its end of the deal.”
This is the first full year of implementation of the Blueprint, since the General Assembly overrode the Governor’s veto of the bill during the 2021 legislative session. As part of the plan, $14.2 million was slated for the implementation of other initiatives in the Blueprint, including:
- Training for Leaders and Teachers
- Development of State Model Curriculum and Instructional Materials
- Expert Review Teams
- Support for National Board Certification
- Career and Technical Education Committee and Skills Board
- Behavioral Health Training
- College and Career Readiness Equating Study
“Maryland has a surplus this year and our fiscal projections look excellent in the coming years,” said Janna Parker, community advocate, Prince George’s County. “We’re still recovering from the pandemic. The money is there, so why is it being denied to our Black and Brown students?”
The reevaluation of Maryland’s education funding formula was scheduled to begin in 2012. The state contracted with the consultants, Augenblick, Pailach, and Associates (APA), in 2014 to study what is needed to ensure that education is funded adequately. In 2016, the “Kirwan” Commission began to review APA’s report and made recommendations for the General Assembly in 2020. The Governor vetoed the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, shortly after the legislature passed the bill in May 2020.
“Ever since the cut to the education funding formula in 2008, schools throughout Maryland have lost hundreds of millions, especially in schools with predominantly Black and Brown students,” said Frank Patinella, Senior Education Advocate with the ACLU of Maryland. “The right of students to an education is protected by our state constitution, yet students and families have waited a decade for the state to put education back on the right path.”
The Maryland Alliance for Racial Equity in Education (MAREE) is an alliance of education advocacy, civil rights, and community-based organizations that are committed to eliminating racial disparities in Maryland’s education system. Coalition members include 1977-II Action Group, Attendance Works, Strong Schools Maryland, Family League of Baltimore, World Class Graduates, ACLU of Maryland, Alliance for Maryland Parents, Teachers and Students, immigrant advocacy organization CASA, Greater Baltimore Urban League, and The Education Trust.