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Schmoke Aids Duncan on Schools


Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan has tapped former Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke for help in an ongoing tiff over Duncan's level of commitment to Baltimore schools.

In a letter this month, Brian D. Morris, chairman of the Baltimore Board of School Commissioners, questioned whether Duncan was using Baltimore school children as "pawns" to boost his political profile as he runs for governor and suggested that if he really wanted to support Baltimore schools, he should fork over some of the money that Montgomery spends.

Morris's question followed a show of solidarity by Duncan with several hundred Baltimore students engaged in a three-day "strike" to call attention, among other things, to large class sizes and unpopular school closings.

Baltimore, of course, is home to Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, Duncan's Democratic primary rival.

Today, Duncan's campaign released not only Duncan's response to Morris, but also a March 8 letter to Morris from Schmoke (D), O'Malley's predecessor in Baltimore.

Schmoke, who is now the dean of Howard University's School of Law and has endorsed Duncan for governor, wrote that the county executive has shown "extraordinary leadership ..... throughout his career to secure more education funding for Baltimore City Schools, and public schools all across Maryland."

In his letter to Morris, Duncan touted his commitment to education and took a few swipes at O'Malley's record.

Morris said neither letter addressed his point: a challenge to Duncan to divert some of Montgomery County's education dollars to Baltimore as a way to demonstrate his professed commitment to the city's schools.

"It was nice of him to jump out in support of the protesters, but I'd much rather it be tangible support," Morris said.

By John Wagner  |  March 14, 2006; 1:48 PM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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