Maryland House overrides veto of major education measure

Cheryl Bost, president of the Maryland State Education Association, stands outside the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Md., on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, with cardboard cutouts of students before the House of Delegates voted to override Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of a comprehensive K-12 education measure that will steer billions in new funding to schools over the next decade. The Maryland Senate will still need to override the veto for the measure to become law. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland House of Delegates voted Monday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a comprehensive K-12 education measure that would boost school funding by billions of dollars over a decade’s time.

The House voted 95-37 to override the veto, clearing the 85 votes, or three-fifths, needed. The measure has been a top priority of Democrats, who control the General Assembly.

“This reform package, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, is going to benefit the entire state, every county, every student, every teacher and every family — all the way from Allegany County to Prince George’s County,” said Del. Alonzo Washington, a Prince George’s Democrat.

The Maryland Senate will still need to override the governor’s veto for the measure to become law. Senators passed the bill last year with enough support for a veto override. They could take up the measure again as soon as this week.

The legislation was based on recommendations of a state commission and more than three years of study. While it would be phased in, the measure is estimated to cost an additional $4 billion in fiscal year 2030, with local jurisdictions contributing to state funding to pay for it.

The legislature approved the bill last year. Hogan, a Republican, later vetoed the bill, citing the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Republican delegates joined the governor in opposing the bill, saying it was wrong to increase spending by such a magnitude in the aftermath of a pandemic.

“We know that we are in unprecedented circumstances,” said Del. Christopher Adams, an Eastern Shore Republican. “This legislature needs to act accordingly. The governor, when he vetoed this bill, did it because it was responsible policy at the time, not knowing how difficult the financial conditions were moving forward.”

To help pay for the initiative, the House also voted to override Hogan’s veto of a measure to apply the state’s 6 percent sales tax to digital products, such as streaming and music, on a vote of 90-42.

The education plan focuses on five policy areas, which include expanding early childhood education such as pre-K and increasing teacher salaries. College and career readiness, aid for struggling schools and accountability in implementation also are among the main policy areas.

Cheryl Bost, a Baltimore County elementary school teacher and president of the Maryland State Education Association, praised Monday’s vote for the legislation, which the teacher’s union has supported as a major step toward increasing equity in education and raising academic achievement.

“Through their action today, legislators are seizing this once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that every student in every neighborhood will have a great public school,” Bost said.

A state commission, known as the Kirwan Commission after former University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan, recommended the legislation after studying how to make Maryland schools competitive with the world’s best.

Maryland worked with a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, the National Center on Education and the Economy, to compare Maryland’s public education policies with high-performing systems in Finland, Singapore, Canada and China, as well as Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Hampshire in the United States.

(12) comments

veritas

This kind of citizen-funded political extravagance is what happens to perpetual single party (blue) state governments. Check out The Big Four such states - CA, IL, NY, MI - each of which is in dire financial straights thanks to their profligate propensities. MD most likely would be among them were it not for the abberation of the DC suburbs which, for the most part are propped up by the consistently full, high paying employment of the federal government and its private sector affiliates. The outlandish price tag for this controversial educational boondoggle could break the backs of those MD communities which don't exist in the federal government bubble. Hogan was spot on to veto it, but, as always, MD Dems gonna do what MD Dems do. Have your check books at the ready, fellow citizens - but don't expect your hard earned money to do much to improve the quality of education in the state.

bosco

Let me tell you how it will be

There's one for you, nineteen for me

'Cause I'm the taxman

Yeah, I'm the taxman

Should five per cent appear too small?

Be thankful I don't take it all

'Cause I'm the taxman

Yeah, I'm the taxman

(If you drive a car, car)

I'll tax the street

(If you try to sit, sit)

I'll tax your seat

(If you get too cold, cold)

I'll tax the heat

(If you take a walk, walk)

I'll tax your feet

MD1756

Del. Karen Lewis Young (D-Frederick), chair of the Frederick County delegation, told the News-Post: "Built on the principle that every child deserves the best education, it will be implemented over 10 years focusing on:

●Expanding pre-K

●High-quality, diverse instruction

●College and career readiness

●More resources for the most needy students

●Accountability for progress and ensuring effective utilization of tax-payer funds."
,br>Somehow we managed to make it to the moon without publicly funded Pre-K, we managed to develop small personal computers, the internet, cell phones GPS, etc. without publicly funded Pre-K.

The most needy students seems to continue to increase as children without their parents enter the country, and as illegal immigrants have children here (who become American citizens when born here).

The legislature has made unrealistic assumptions about how to pay for the cost, and even then, to my knowledge, have not identified full funding for the measure, especially given that the government's current obligations are not fully funded (i.e., the significant shortfall in funding teachers pensions without adding even more teachers).

shiftless88

Wow; that's a whole lot of unsubstantiated judgements, MD.

MD1756

My first statement is merely fact, not unsubstantiated judgements.

Certainly the current pension shortfall is not unsubstantiated and has been around for a long time. Maryland is ranked 23 overall for underfunded pensions (see: https://247wallst.com/special-report/2020/12/04/every-states-pension-crisis-ranked-3/7/). It's shortfall alone is $22 billion which is the 16th largest in the country. The state's average annual payout per public retiree is the 18th highest.

So, the only technically unsubstantiated statement is my second statement, but look at the demographics data and it is not an unreasonable statement. The Hispanic population in this country is growing and is significantly higher than the percentage of the Hispanic population compared to the world population. Just apply an average "undocumented percentage" to the population and you'll see that the number of children here illegally or come from a household with one or more parents here illegally is increasing. The percentage of Hispanic children in the school systems has grown significantly. In MoCo in the lower grades they are now a plurality and yet in MoCo they tend to be on the lower end of the family income scale. Therefore I'd say while my statement has not been proven, if someone were to properly analyze the data I'd more likely be correct than incorrect and I'd suggest that my likelihood of being correct is higher than the politicians' being correct about the estimated cost of their legislation. They have probably significantly underestimated the cost as is the case for many significant governmental programs (just look at the estimates of the costs for social security and medicare and what has been done over time to address the underestimation of the costs).

I'm certainly not saying don't improve education. I am saying that we need to be wise and realistic with the choices we make and politicians should not be making their own broad unsubstantiated statements as to the need and the solution. An alternative to all day pre-K is to have parents take more responsibility for early childhood education as has been done in the past, or at the very least, eliminate parents' income tax deductions/credits for having children and put those revenues towards education. Parents should not be given even more tax deductions/credits/payments for choosing to have their children.

MD1756

When will the legislature have the guts to do the obvious to help pay for this misguided measure? They need to eliminate the income tax deductions/credits parents get for having children. Parents need to pay at least the same in income taxes as those who have no children and thus are not imposing a significant burden on state and local budgets. And for any potential commenters to this comment, I'm not saying those with no children should not help support public education. I am saying it is inequitable (and I'd say immoral) to make those with no children pay more in income taxes simply because someone else has chosen to have children.

mrnatural1

Unfortunately, there is currently a push in the opposite direction.

The proposal is to give ALL parents $3,600 per year per child under 6 y.o., and $3,000 per year per child under 18. 10 kids? $30,000 to $36,000 per year!

Ka-Ching!!

The credits do not begin to decrease until a couple makes over $150,000 per year!! So, a well-off couple with 4 kids (say, two over age 6, two younger) living in a McMansion (or large suburban home) with a couple newer SUVs in the garage and a nice IRA/401K nest egg can expect to collect $13,200 per year!

That's $13,200 that comes, in part, from those of us who are relatively low income and/or have no children of our own. That is clearly wrong.

We all want to see children properly cared for, but throwing thousands of dollars a year at people who are making a 6-figure income is absurd.

In fact, it is the opposite of what we should be doing. 11,000 climate scientists have all signed off on a study that says the U.S. (and the planet) is severely overpopulated. America is currently at DOUBLE its sustainable capacity. We should not be paying solidly middle class people to add to the problem by having more children. If anything, they should have to pay an annual fee for any children over 1 or 2.

jloo

Property taxes are a goin up!!

bpswp

If anyone wants a lesson in what happens to a state when education is not a priority, just look across the border to WV. WV does not get the blessing of corporations moving there because of its poor ed system.

micky

Momoney, momoney, momoney !! They have been trying to revolutionize education since Aristotle, When will we learn, money does not buy student achievement !!

teadoffinfrederickcounty

[thumbup] The perfect test would be have a pilot program of funding the City of Baltimore and Prince George's County. Fund those jurisdictions only then test achievement scores after one or two years. If scores improve more than 0.50% it would be a miracle.

Riptide262

This is a great plan. Try it on a smaller scale and verify it works before committing billions to this plan. If it fails then we will be out millions, not billions. If it works, then the taxpayers will have objective evidence that their money is being spent on kids, not administrators and education companies.

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