NP Aging Schools

TESTIMONY TO THE SENATE BUDGET AND TAXATION COMMITTEE - SUBCOMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, BUSINESS AND ADMINISTRATION

Interagency Committee on School Construction Briefing/Budget Hearing

RE:  Non-Public Aging Schools Program

POSITION: Oppose

BY:  Susan Cochran, President

DATE: February 3, 2014

At the end of the 2013 Legislative Session, the League of Women Voters of Maryland was very concerned when language providing $3.5 million in funding to a new “Non-Public Aging Schools Program” was added to the budget without a public hearing.

The League has a long history of supporting openness in government including public hearings.  It was very disconcerting to learn that such a controversial topic as the use of public funds for non-public schools was adopted without a public hearing.

The League has also strongly opposed public funding for non-public schools in the form or scholarships, tax credits, or vouchers.  Public school funding should be the state’s priority. The state and local jurisdictions are struggling to meet the needs of public schools as they deal with the effects of the recession and reduced federal funding.  The Aging Schools Program once provided as much as $21 million statewide for the oldest school buildings in the state.  The current allocation for public schools is $6.1 million.

The League of Women Voters asks the committee to give an unfavorable report to the funding of non-public school building upgrades under the Aging Schools Program.  We also request a full, public review of the procedures used in allocating money for the Non-Public Aging Schools Program and of the use of these capital funds.

Identical testimony was submitted for the Capital Budget Subcommittee hearing on March 18, 2014.