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Townsend criticizes Ehrlich over U.S. education funding


Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said yesterday that Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and other House Republicans are shortchanging schoolchildren because President Bush's proposed budget does not meet the lofty promises of last year's education reform bill.

Townsend's campaign pointed to a report released this week by House Democrats showing that Maryland would receive about $250 million less than the bill promised if the Bush budget is enacted.

"If you are going to run on how important education is, you have to ask what [Ehrlich] has done for education while he was in Congress," Townsend said.

Ehrlich voted for the president's budget framework in March, which included lower education funding than planned. But he said until the specific appropriations bill is up for a vote, he shouldn't be criticized.

"Even during the silly season, that is quite a stretch," Ehrlich said. "The bill hasn't come to the floor yet."

The Bush budget provides a $1 billion increase for students from low-income families, not the $5.65 billion promised in the bill, the report says. For Maryland, that's a difference of $73 million in grant money. Bush also proposes spending about $500 million less than promised for students with physical, emotional and mental disabilities.

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