School funding revision unveiled

O'Malley wants to tie increases to CPI

October 27, 2007|By Kelly Brewington

Gov. Martin O'Malley unveiled a revised proposal yesterday to alter the way education funding is calculated in Maryland, part of his legislative plan that includes tax measures and spending cuts to close the state's projected $1.7 billion budget shortfall.

Last month, the governor proposed freezing the inflation index increase calculated by the state's Thornton education plan over two years. Yesterday, the governor revised the plan, calling for each school system to see at least a 1 percent increase over the next two years.

Starting in 2011, the state would use the consumer price index to calculate increases in education funding, rather than the inflation factor currently used.

O'Malley's plan would also phase in extra funding for certain jurisdictions over three years. Those 13 high-cost districts would share $38 million in the fiscal year that starts in July 2008, $76 million in the following year and $129 million by 2011.

Education leaders were angered by O'Malley's original proposal to cut state aid to school districts. The current funding formula has been required under a law passed in 2002 that increased state spending by $2 billion over five years.

But O'Malley has pointed out that the increased education funding over the years, along with a reduction of the income tax, has helped cause the projected deficit.

O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said the current proposal would save the state about $500 million over three years.

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