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Fully fund education

Contrary to the claims in a recent letter to the editor ("Democratic hypocrisy evident in education funding," Nov. 11), Baltimore City Public Schools received $23 million less in state funding this year compared to last. This is an indisputable fact documented by the Maryland State Department of Education. Gov. Larry Hogan's decision to withhold Geographic Cost of Education Index funding from city schools (as well as many counties across the state) has hampered the school system's efforts to reduce class sizes and to provide challenging programs to all students seeking them, and has forced steep cuts in administration staff.

Governor Hogan's press releases can continue to claim that education was funded at a "record" amount this year, but that's not the full story. It was not his choice — the governor must to fund education at a certain level because Maryland has a law requiring him to do so. In fact, he tried to cut education more, but legislators in Annapolis beat back those misguided cuts, finding dollars in other parts of the state's budget to fully fund education. But Mr. Hogan has refused to release the $68 million in GCEI funding.

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Governor Hogan should stop holding the GCEI funds hostage and immediately release these critical education dollars that legislators freed up earlier this year. The city schools' budget is balanced, but let's not pretend the missing funds do not impact schools. The children of Baltimore cannot afford the loss of $23 million in state funding.

Gary Therkildsen, Baltimore

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The writer is an advocate with the ACLU of Maryland's Education Reform Project.

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