Lt. Governor Brown, Congresswoman Edwards Promote Recovery and Reinvestmet for Prince George's Schools
SEAT PLEASANT, MD (March 16, 2009) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, joined by Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Interim Prince George’s County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. William Hite, announced $1.1 billion of recovery and reinvestment funding for education in Maryland, including more than $72 million in Prince George’s County.
“Governor O’Malley and I have made the tough choices to invest in our future, even during difficult times and that investment is paying off,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “Our schools have moved from Number Three to Number One and we have seen test scores rise in every part of the state and across every demographic. Because of President Obama and Congresswoman Edwards, we will protect that progress, survive these difficult times and thrive for years to come.”
President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last month, which provides $1.1 billion for Maryland schools. Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown announced in February it was their intention to use this federal support to fully fund the Thornton Bridge to Academic Excellence, including the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI), for the first time since Thornton was signed into law in 2002. Also included in the federal Recovery and Reinvestment funding for education is $177 million of direct support for Maryland’s Federal Title I, special education and educational technologies programs.
Last month, Governor Martin O’Malley launched a new website, www.recovery.maryland.gov, to allow Marylanders to track recovery projects in the State of Maryland, including recovery spending on education.
“The $30.8 million in state aid coming to Prince George’s County public schools as a result of the passing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will eliminate the need to increase class sizes and institute weeklong staff furloughs,” said Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (District 4). “I am proud to have fought for this funding, which will give $15.4 million in Title I funds to support Prince George's County public schools’ low-income students during the 2010 school year. Our special needs students in the county, including a growing population of students with autism, will also receive $14.7 million in funds through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) program. These funds will save teacher jobs and invest in student academic achievement, which will ensure marketplace competitiveness and future economic success for America.”
“Lt. Governor Brown continues to work in partnership with our school district. Because of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s commitment to our students and families, our children will receive the support they need and deserve,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Jr., Interim Superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools. “Because of the Administration’s quick action, recovery and reinvestment funding will be used to maintain class sizes, employees of Prince George’s County Public Schools will not be furloughed, and the most vulnerable children will receive the support they need. Additionally, recovery and reinvestment funding will help reduce a backlog of more than $2 billion in school renovation and construction projects to improve the conditions for learning for thousands of our students.”
Maryland public schools were ranked No. 1 in America, according to Education Week’s 2009 Quality Counts annual report. The state’s public schools have seen improvements in its students’ test scores in every grade, subject, county and demographic. Seat Pleasant Elementary School, a Prince George’s County designated Title I public school, also saw improvements in the performance of its students. In 2003, only one out of five third graders at Seat Pleasant Elementary School scored proficient or higher in reading. Last year, nearly nine out of ten (88 percent) scored at least proficient.
“The entire Seat Pleasant Family is excited about what this opportunity will mean for our students. We are hopeful that the funding provided by the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, specifically for education, will allow Prince George’s County Public Schools to continue with many of the academic and enrichment activities that are crucial to our students’ success,” said Seat Pleasant Elementary School Principal Kassandra Lassiter.
The O’Malley Brown Administration has made historic investments in education, even in difficult economic times, and improving public education remains one of its top priorities. The Administration has provided an historic $5.3 billion in funding for Maryland’s public K-12 schools in fiscal year 2009 and proposed $5.4 billion for fiscal year 2010.
Prior to the press conference, Brown and Edwards were led on a tour of the school by Principal Lassiter and read to students as part of the ongoing “Read Across Maryland Month” celebration.
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