While attending the recent Maryland Attorney General Forum sponsored by the Baltimore Jewish Council, I appreciated hearing about the candidates’ experiences and policy positions. However, I was distressed that Delegate Jon Cardin stated that while he has been in office, Maryland has “adequately” funded education. “Adequate” support, specifically required by the Maryland Constitution, means the legal minimum.
In Baltimore City, we greatly appreciate the state’s support through its groundbreaking contributions to our 21st century school plan to renovate 35 schools and build 15 schools in the next 10 years. A continuing partnership between city and state is crucial to ensure every school is a healthy, safe, functioning and welcoming environment for our children to learn and our teachers to teach. Class sizes are growing, and there are not enough resources for supplies or money for teachers’ raises.
Baltimore City taxpayers support an annual Maintenance of Effort at a cost of $207 million in the upcoming 2015 fiscal year budget. Also in FY 2015: $29.8 million for retiree health benefits; $14.8 million for teacher’s pension costs; $2.8 million for termination leave and contributions for school nurses, crossing guards and debt service for school construction bonds. These add up to 73 cents on the already burdensome city property tax.
Baltimore City Public Schools still struggle just to make ends meet. Our schools have no fiscal flexibility to ensure that successful programs such as the Ingenuity Program have year-to-year sustainability.
While significant progress has been made, I believe that Baltimore City Public Schools require additional monetary investment to ensure our students are prepared for the jobs of the future.
We expect our students and teachers to know that “adequate” is not enough; we expect our state officials to know that as well.
Therefore, because Delegate Jon Cardin believes that there has been “adequate” support for public education on his watch as a state delegate, and the above facts prove that this is not the case, I cannot support him for state attorney general.
On the other hand, Brian Frosh, during the debate, stated true facts and has a long list of proven efforts as a legislator. He has, in fact earned my support for Maryland attorney general.
Rikki (Rochelle) Spector
Baltimore City Council