The Apple Ballot Republicans

Four Republican candidates for the General Assembly have merited the distinction (good or bad depending on your point of view) of  a spot on the MarylandState Education Association’s “Apple Ballot.”  
  •         Christopher Adams, House of Delegates, District 37B
  •         Trent Kittleman, House of Delegates, District 9A
  •        Alan McCarthy, House of Delegates, District 36
  •        Haven Shoemaker, House of Delegates, District 5
According to MSEA’s endorsement process, “local candidates interview with their local association,” and statewide candidates meet with the MSEA president and an endorsement council that makes a recommendation to the MSEA Representative Assembly, which then votes on the candidates.  MSEA endorsed Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman for Governor and Lt. Governor, Peter Franchot for Comptroller, and Brian Frosh for Attorney General.

The MSEA Apple Ballot website spits out a sample ballot for voters.  I’m sure these Republicans are thrilled to be listed along with preferences of the Democratic machine.

While the process for statewide and local candidates are different, the questionnaire candidates complete is similar.  See Anthony Brown’s questionnaire and answers below.
MSEA asks candidates if they support or oppose:
  1. Expansion of the Thornton per-pupil expenditure funding mandates;
  2. Mandating the Geographic Cost of Education Index;
  3. Maintenance of Effort Law;
  4. Increasing school construction floor in the capital budget from $250 million to $500 million;
  5. “Draining” funds from public schools to fund BOAST tax credits for private schools.
Anthony Brown supported 1-4 and opposed 5.
For these four Republicans to get an MSEA endorsement and placement on the “Apple Ballot” they had to support in whole (like Brown) or in part the five criteria laid out by MSEA. 
Here are the background points MSEA uses to frame (slant) their questions.

In 2011 I crunched the numbers to show that Thornton, which was passed in 2002, with the ostensible goal of reducing educational disparities, has failed to achieve that goal.  Since 2002, Maryland has increased K-12 education spending by $3.2 BILLION, a 110 percent increase.  Yet persistent and growing disparity gaps remain, while still applying massive budgetary pressure on state finances.   
Similarly, the Maintenance of Effort Law doesn’t lead to better educational outcomes, rather it adds to the county’s budgetary woes. 
Supporting an extra $250 million in the state’s capital budget means running up even more debt on the state credit card, which Governor O’Malley has nearly maxed out.  Remember debt payments, which will reach $557 million by 2019, are tied to the state property tax.  Get ready for another tax hike.
MSEA is adamantly opposed to any kind of expansion—like BOAST—of school choice beyond Maryland’s weak charter school law.  That free-market reform would mean MSEA would have to actually answer to their real customers—parents and students, not the politicians they can control.

Of the four Republicans listed, the only answers to the MSEA questionnaire, I’ve been able to track down are Trent Kittleman’s, incomplete, rambling, barely coherent responses.  They leave the reader unsure if she opposes the increased spending and higher taxes that come with MSEA’s priorities. 

Republican primary voters in Districts 5, 9A, 36 and 37B would sure like to know which of these candidates supported increased spending, increased debt, and opposed school choice.

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