In their letter to the JT (“Gov’s Decision Slams Book Shut,” June 5), Delegates Hettleman, Morhaim, Rosenberg and Stein and Senator Zirkin — all Democrats — blame Republican Gov. Larry Hogan for the failure to increase textbook funding to nonpublic schools by $4 million as proposed by the General Assembly.
However, given their years of control over both the executive and legislative branches of state government, it is the Democratic Party that bears
the brunt of responsibility for the miserable level of state funding for students of Maryland’s nonpublic schools. The 2015 session of the General Assembly was no exception.
Regarding the textbook funding matter, Democrats share responsibility for the failure of funding to increase since it is Democratic lawmakers who conditioned the increase on the expenditure of additional monies on public schools, which the governor declined to do. Instead, lawmakers should have independently and unconditionally increased the textbook funding program, thereby ensuring that both nonpublic school students and public school students have access to necessary educational resources.
Moreover, the Democratic leadership of the House of Delegates bears sole responsibility for the failure of legislation that would have provided a tax credit to donations toward educational assistance in both nonpublic and public schools. House Speaker Mike Busch refused to move the bill out of committee, and the House refused to consider a similar program that the governor included in his supplemental budget.
Rather than engaging in partisan finger pointing, local politicians (particularly those representing the Jewish community) need to exhibit leadership and be at the forefront of efforts to adequately fund nonpublic school education. The students who attend these schools, and their financially pressed parents, deserve no less.