O'Malley budget secretary bristles at Prince George's education aid request
A request from Prince George's County's for $139 million more in state education aid than was budgeted this year brought a sharp rebuke Friday from the administration of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).
"Your proposal ... suggests that you believe that the governor's winning reelection is the
equivalent to winning the lottery," T. Eloise Foster, O'Malley's budget secretary, wrote in a letter to Prince George's Schools Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. "Like the moms and dads who live in Maryland, government must learn to live within constrained budgets. I would suggest that you look to streamline administrative and non-classroom functions."
Foster's letter comes as O'Malley is preparing a fiscal year 2012 budget proposal that seeks to close a shortfall of more than $1.2 billion. Aides have suggested that no programs are likely to be exempt from budget cuts, including education.
Under Hite's budget proposal, which was released Thursday, Prince George's school employees' pay would be frozen and middle school sports would be eliminated, among other cost-saving measures.
The request for additional state aid is intended largely to offset the disappearance of federal stimulus money, which has served to prop up state and local spending on education and other programs for the past two years.
"We definitely understand the state's fiscal challenges, but we want to ask for what we need to operate the district," Matthew E. Stanski, the Prince George's school system's chief financial officer, told The Post Thursday.
Foster's letter says she was disappointed to read about the school system's proposal in The Post and recounts the record amounts of state aid that the system has received in recent years.
"Together, I am certain that we will be able to make the tough, but prudent decisions necessary to put children first while living within the fiscal reality of our times," Foster wrote.
| December 17, 2010; 4:33 PM ET
Categories: John Wagner, Maryland State Budget
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