The House of Delegates on Monday voted in favor of override.
Annapolis, Md (KM) The State Senate is expected on Friday to take a vote on whether to override the Governor’s veto of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. That’s according to Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost.
The House of Delegates on Monday voted in favor of overriding the veto.
If it becomes law, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future would provide additional funding for K-12 education over the next ten years. The amount would be in the billions of dollars. “It will increase the local and state investments in schools, and then we’ll be able to expand :Pre-K opportunities, career and technology opportunities. So our students will be able to go right into the workforce–those students who choose to–which will help build on our economy,” says Bost.
And there’s also a focus on teachers’ salaries. “It will also work on teacher preparations programs, and help us, hopefully, recruit and retain more educators and a diverse employment base for our teachers,” she says.
The General Assembly passed the legislation last year, but Governor Larry Hogan vetoed, citing the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Frederick County Delegate Jesse Pippy (R) voted against overriding the Governor’s veto. “This year alone we’re running a billion-dollar deficit. And that bill is going to cost upwards to $30-billion. And there’s just really no way to pay for it without substantially raising taxes on all Marylanders,” he said.
Delegate Ken Kerr (D) voted in favor of the override. “This is a controversial bill, and it should not be controversial, really. I think people were frightened by the price tag. But it really is funded already. We have funds allocated through 2026,” he says.
Bost disputes the contention that adopting the Blueprint will lead to tax increases. “So those that are just talking about ‘oh, this is a huge tax increase.” it’s really using fear-mongering of folks. If you look at the bill, if you look at the Kirwan Commission, that’s simply not true,” she says.
The Blueprint is based on recommendations from a state commission chaired by the former University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan.
With billions of dollars being spent over the next decade, Bost says there will be accountability. “There will be a board that makes sure that the money that is supposed to go directly to our schools will be utilized for that,” she says. “That accountability piece is built into the bill so that we can make sure that if we’re talking adding community schools and the services they’ll be providing, that actually happens.”
As part of the Blueprint, community schools will be opened in the most concentrated areas of poverty. They will address the needs of the students and the families and their community. Bost says it could mean bringing mental health services to the schools or wellness programs.
By Kevin McManus