The Democrats are Demagoguing Again: Getting Real on Baltimore City Schools Funding

It may be a New Year, but the Democrats are up to their old tricks when it comes to be dishonest about schools in our state.

Democrats are tripping all over themselves trying to blame Governor Larry Hogan for the lack of heat in Baltimore City schools.

Jealous also went to the Sun, joined by Rich Madaleno to score cheap political points through unhelpful and goofy statements make their thoughts known:

Two of the Democrats hoping to unseat Hogan from the Governor’s Mansion used the school heating issue to attack the governor. State Sen. Richard Madaleno, a Montgomery County Democrat running for governor, called the situation a “crisis” and criticized Hogan for prioritizing air conditioning. Another candidate, former NAACP President Ben Jealous, suggested Hogan should hold a cabinet meeting in one of the schools with broken heating.

Naturally the truth is…..something different.

Everybody knows that Governor Larry Hogan has funded education at record levels every year he has been in office. This isn’t news; we’ve been talking about it at Red Maryland for three years. But let’s point out a few other facts that are worth pointing out about Baltimore City school funding.

  • Governor Hogan’s budgets have not only fully funded Baltimore City Schools, but have funded them above the levels required by the Maintenance of Effort and other formulas.
  • The budget provided over $100 million in School construction funds to Baltimore City Schools;
  • Baltimore City schools also receive an additional $20 million per year from the Stadium Authority for the 21st Century Schools Program;
  • Of the schools that Senator Ferguson listed in his tweet referenced above, five of them were at the bottom of Baltimore City’s priority list for state funding; the other two, Historic Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Garrett Park, were approved by for funding for HVAC projects twice in the 2016 and 2017, but city schools rescinded the funding twice.

This doesn’t even take into account that fact that Baltimore City schools have misused federal school stimulus funds or the fact that Baltimore City Schools have a sad and sordid tradition of running deficits and just plain losing money.

Madaleno’s statement to the Sun is particularly egregious and dishonest.  The General Assembly never specifically provided funding to replace and repair older heating systems in Baltimore City. That’s not how the school construction budget works, something a self-professed “budget guru” knows. The General Assembly merely approves a total figure, not individual projects. The authority to approve individual projects rests with the Board of Public Works. The same year Madaleno claims the General Assembly provided funding is the same year the BPW approved HVAC funding for the two schools that were later rescinded by Baltimore City.

Madaleno’s lying. Not the first, second, or third time the flip-flopping fabulist Madaleno has done that.

Governor Hogan said it best when he said:

“We’re all for making all of the improvements to all of the schools and building new schools, which is why we record funded them,” said Hogan, a Republican. “We don’t think kids should be sweating to death in un-air-conditioned schools or freezing to death.”

He’s right. No student should be facing the problems that these city school students are facing. But it wasn’t Governor Hogan that sets the maintenance budget for city schools. It wasn’t Governor Hogan who ranked the affected schools at the bottom of the city priority list for state funding. It wasn’t the Governor who rescinded funding to improve two of these schools after the funding it was awarded.

No, all of those decisions were made by the always incompetent Baltimore City Public Schools leadership.

Of course, the Democrats know the truth behind this. They know that it’s the educational bureaucracy that’s to blame for all of these problems. But it’s an election year and they are going to do what they always do, which is to use public school students as political pawns. Jealous, Madaleno, Shea, Kopp, Ferguson only care about this issue right now because it is politically expedient; if they truly cared, they would have been asking these questions of city school officials long before these students were forced to face these pathetic conditions.

Baltimore City schools have been a shameful mess for decades; where were these Democrats to cast blame all those years?

The heating issue in Baltimore City schools needs to be fixed immediately. But the Democrats should not expect that they will be able to disingenuously demagouge this issue and blame Larry Hogan for it when he has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that K-12 education receives record levels of funding for students in Baltimore City and beyond.

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