Governor Martin O'Malley Announces Plan to Fully Fund Maryland Schools

More than $720 million from Obama Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will help fund America’s number one school system

 

ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 20, 2009) – Governor Martin O’Malley, joined today by Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, announced more than $720 million of funding for Maryland public education resulting from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.  Under Governor O’Malley’s plan, every school district in Maryland will be made whole and the Geographic Cost of Education Index will be funded at 100 percent for the first time.

“Even in difficult economic times, we have protected Maryland children and America’s number one school system because it’s absolutely the right thing to do,” said Governor O’Malley.  “Thanks to President Obama and members of Congress who voted to invest in our economic future, we are able to make these additional strategic investments in our classrooms and teachers.”

Despite difficult economic times, Governor O’Malley proposed a record $5.4 billion funding level in his FY2010 budget for K-12 public education.  However, in order to address a budget shortfall of nearly $2 billion dollars due to the deepening national recession, some adjustments were made in the non-Thornton elements of the formula.  With today’s announcement, every school district in Maryland was made whole.

The plan announced today includes full funding of GCEI, as well as a restoration of the proposed reductions in supplemental grant and non-public placement funding to local school systems, which will complement nearly $400 million in direct aid that local systems will receive from the federal government as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.  These federal funds will also provide $329 million towards the projected growth of teacher pension cost, continuing to protect local jurisdictions from this potentially prohibitive cost. 

Governor O’Malley also announced today that these education dollars will go towards full funding of the Thornton Bridge to Excellence Plan, representing more than $185 million in cost increases over the next 27 months.

Today’s announcement confirmed that Obama Reinvestment funds will allow the Governor to scrap plans that included 700 state layoffs in next year’s budget.  The restoration of those positions utilizes $62 million of the Act’s discretionary funding over the next two years.

Since the passage of the Thornton Bridge to Excellence Plan, State funding for local school systems has increased by $1.97 billion dollars, a 76-percent increase.  Governor O’Malley proposed a record $5.4 billion funding level for FY2010 despite difficult economic times.  In addition, for the first time ever, Maryland will have invested more than $1 billion in school construction funding over a three year period, including over $260 million proposed for FY2010 alone. 

In early January, Education Week Magazine ranked Maryland’s public schools number one in the nation.  Shortly thereafter, the College Board ranked Maryland’s high schools number one in the nation for Advanced Placement participation and achievement.

 

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