Glendening faults Sauerbrey on education

October 28, 1994|By Doug Birch | Doug Birch,Sun Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK -- Most Thursday mornings, Parris N. Glendening comes to University Park Elementary to shelve books or maybe read aloud from "The Day the Boa Constrictor Ate Mrs. Jones' Laundry."

Yesterday, he went there wearing a kid-friendly Snoopy tie to read to Maryland voters from another text: "How My Republican Opponent Would Slash Public Education."

In a borrowed classroom, the Prince George's County executive told reporters that his rival, Ellen R. Sauerbrey, "cannot deny" that her plans to cut state income taxes and give parents private school vouchers would reduce state aid to education by one-third.

Guess what -- she denied it.

"More doom-and-gloom predictions from Parris with no basis in fact," said Carol L. Hirschburg, Mrs. Sauerbrey's campaign spokesman. "I'm beginning to suspect that every time Parris opens his mouth a lie drops out."

Mr. Glendening sketched a dark picture of the fate of public schools if Mrs. Sauerbrey, minority leader of the Maryland House of Delegates, wins the governor's office: overcrowded classrooms, supply shortages, a 62 percent increase in tuition for state college and university students.

"Given her history of opposition to public schools, and the realities of the state budget, it is very clear where her cuts will come from," said Mr. Glendening. "And . . . the only place that money can really come from is education.

"She will say, 'No, that's not going to happen, I'm not going to cut anything,' " he added. "You simply cannot deny that education will be cut very substantially."

Mr. Glendening said that Mrs. Sauerbrey's plan to provide $2,000 vouchers to the parents of private school students would cost the state treasury about $228 million a year. That figure is based on 114,000 current private school students each receiving a grant, he said.

"I believe that is wrong," he said. "We should not be using public dollars to support private education."

Ms. Hirschburg called the price tag "completely ridiculous." The program would be phased in over 12 years, starting with first grade in the first year. It would take effect in a given county -- or in Baltimore -- only if officials approved it, she said.

"There is absolutely no way at this point to gauge what its economic impact would be," she said.

Ms. Hirschburg pointed out that Mrs. Sauerbrey has promised not to trim state aid to public schools. But, she conceded, higher education programs will not be exempt from an overall effort to trim government, scheduled to begin in the second year of Mrs. Sauerbrey's term.

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