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Miller links charter school reform to restoring budget cuts

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller warned Wednesday that Gov. Larry Hogan's legislation to expand charter schools in Maryland won't pass unless the governor restores cuts he's made in public school funding formulas.

Speaking to reporters after the Senate finished its daily session, Miller expressed support for increasing the number of charter schools, saying "parents deserve an option" to send their children to them.

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Miller also said reforms are needed to make it easier to open and maintain charters, giving administrators more flexibility in staffing outside of union contracts governing public school teachers.

"Some of the union requirements are stifling," he said.

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Miller has previously spoken favorably of charter schools, and last week even said Hogan's reform legislation is about the only part of the governor's legislative agenda that he thought might pass the General Assembly.

But Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch have publicly taken issue with Hogan's transportation and school spending plans, and vowed to do what they can to restore changes in funding formulas.

Couching his remarks as an offer to compromise with Hogan, Miller told reporters, "We're not going to be able to make changes until we bring funding back to public schools."

When asked, Miller said he hadn't spoken with Hogan yet about his proposed deal.

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