Waldorf, MD – At an impromptu press conference called Thursday, Oct. 16 at St. Charles High School in Waldorf, State Senator Thomas McLain “Mac” Middleton, Delegate Sally Jameson, Charles County Commissioner Ken Robinson and Education Association of Charles County member Peter Ullmann decried a proposal by Republican candidate for governor Larry Hogan to slash $450 million from new school construction projects if elected.
“He didn’t say there were any inefficiencies or abuse of how spending was handled,” Middleton stated. “Hogan has been quoted as saying ‘I stand by my numbers’ on three different occasions.”
In a county projected to spend an estimated $600 million on renovations and new school construction over the next decade, Hogan’s assertions are alarming, Middleton said.
“There is an old expression that when you’re talking about the truth, you don’t necessarily have to tell all the truth,” he added. “He could have said, ‘I will not cut school funding.’ You can bet your bottom dollar it’s in his plans.”
Jameson touted the new St. Charles High School behind her as proof of what putting state funding priorities in place can do for a community.
“Yes, it cost a lot of money,” she said, “but our children need and deserve a safe environment in which to learn in. Hogan is absolutely wrong. This is an issue we need to rally around in Annapolis.”
She said there are classrooms and schools in “deplorable condition” throughout the entire state.
“This is not the time to turn kids away when we have $600 million committed over the next decade to renovate schools,” Robinson stated. “If we don’t give student an environment to learn in, we will be failing them. Calling for cuts in education and school construction is just plain wrong.”
Robinson called Hogan’s comments, which have been slammed by the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post, “an insult to local government,” adding that 50 percent of funding for new school construction is provided by the counties.
According to Ullmann, who is also a middle school teacher at John Hanson in addition to his work with the EACC, Hogan wants to give away a big tax break to lure corporations to the state, while cutting education resources.
“Charles County is planning on spending $600 million to renovate our school buildings,” he said. “Hogan’s cuts put that plan in jeopardy. It’s moving in the wrong direction. Some students are taking classes in trailers that have been there for 20 years. Our children can’t afford these cuts.”
Six of the county’s eight middle schools are overcrowded, he added, saying that 10 to 12 elementary schools face the same problem.
Middleton said that school funding was increased during the last Republican administration, but not through the will of the Ehrlich administration.
“They didn’t cut money,” Middleton said, “They were forced to add funding by the Democratic legislature. This is not a time for less,” he added. “We need more.”
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