House votes 88-39 to cut state aid to city schools by $5.9 million

March 16, 1996|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

Baltimore legislators engaged in public and sometimes pointed infighting yesterday as the House of Delegates voted to cancel $5.9 million in state aid to the city schools as a penalty for mismanagement.

Despite claims from several city lawmakers that the cut would hurt students and teachers, not incompetent bureaucrats, the House passed the measure 88-39.

Five city delegates voted for the bill, 17 were opposed and four didn't vote at all.

The bill, which was sponsored by Del. Howard P. Rawlings, a Baltimore Democrat and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, would cut the city aid as punishment for not enacting management changes suggested in a 1992 study. The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Mr. Rawlings spent nearly an hour defending the cut against complaints from several of his city colleagues, all fellow Democrats.

Del. Frank D. Boston Jr., chairman of the city's House delegation, said any cuts to the schools inevitably would hurt students. "This bill is not in the best interest of the children of the Baltimore City public school system," he said.

Some city delegates said they were swayed by the school administrators, who said the budget cut could mean the loss of 120 teachers. Mr. Rawlings labeled such talk "misinformation."

"This is really a sad, sad commentary," he said. "That they would use children to cover for the deficiencies and inabilities of grown-ups to do what they get good salaries to do."

Under his bill, the money would be cut from this year's state budget. Even so, Baltimore would receive $418 million in state education aid.

The $5.9 million figure roughly equals 25 percent of the salaries for city school administrators. The bill would require the city to absorb the loss from administrative costs, not instruction.

Yesterday's debate occasionally turned ugly. Del. Nathaniel T. Oaks, who opposed the bill, sarcastically referred to Mr. Rawlings as "Mr. Powerful Chairman."

Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., whose district includes parts of the city and Baltimore County, said he was "embarrassed" by the public squabble.

Pub Date: 3/16/96

Roll call

Here is how Baltimore delegates voted yesterday on a bill which would cancel $5.9 million in state aid to the city schools. All are Democrats.

Voting Yea

Peter A. Hammen

Carolyn J. Krysiak

Maggie McIntosh

Howard P. Rawlings

Samuel I. Rosenberg

Voting nay

Frank D. Boston Jr.

Emmett C. Burns Jr.

James W. Campbell

Elijah E. Cummings

Clarence Davis

Cornell N. Dypski

Tony E. Fulton

Hattie N. Harrison

Ruth M. Kirk

Salima Siler Marriott

Brian K. McHale

Clarence Mitchell IV

Kenneth C. Montague Jr.

Timothy D. Murphy

Shirley Nathan-Pulliam

Nathaniel T. Oaks

Joan N. Parker

Not voting

Talmadge Branch

Gerald J. Curran

Ann Marie Doory

Clay Opara

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