Rice Issues Statement on School Funding

Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice, chairman of the Council’s Education Committee, issued the following statement today after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced he would not release Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) funding to support Montgomery County Public Schools:220px-CraigriceOFFICIALheadshot_12-7-10

“I am extremely disappointed with Governor Hogan’s decision not to release the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) funding to our schools. Withholding $17 million from Montgomery County Public Schools ($68 million statewide) will negatively impact our schools and our students.

Earlier this year, I hosted a series of Education Forums with Interim MCPS Superintendent Larry Bowers and President of Montgomery College Dr. DeRionne Pollard. We all stressed the need for state supported education funding, recognizing that several jurisdictions, including Montgomery County, are funding the majority of our schools’ budgets. Additionally, in the last four years, the state has passed on the cost of teacher pensions to the County as well.

Thanks in part to our wonderful parent community and its advocacy, the Maryland General Assembly voted to make sure that funding was available to help our school system. Unfortunately, Governor Hogan overrode this decision and withheld that money from our schools. This short-sightedness could cost the state its well-earned distinction as a top rated school system.

MCPS has been working hard to minimize the impacts of any cuts and reductions, but they are stretched thin. We need Governor Hogan to uphold his part of our partnership. The State Maintenance of Effort Law requires each County in Maryland to pay its share for education; however, the Governor has not followed through to provide the funding necessary to maintain our high level of education.

Last year, through a strong collaboration with MCPS and the Council, we were able to fully fund the school system’s budget. As a County, we understand the broad reaching impact education has beyond the classroom and how it impacts workforce and economic development. Our best shot at growing and thriving as a County and a State is having educated and technically trained young adults ready to enter the workforce. As Governor Hogan touts the importance of strengthening our tax base by retaining and attracting businesses to Maryland, he fails to realize that education is the key component towards reaching that goal.”

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