- The Washington Times - Friday, September 7, 2001

BALTIMORE (AP) The state does not have the money to give Baltimore schools the additional $363 million city educators are seeking, a prominent Baltimore lawmaker said.
"In terms of fiscal reality, that kind of money is not available in the state budget and won't be available until we address additional revenue sources," said Delegate Howard P. Rawlings, a Baltimore Democrat and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Other jurisdictions also will be looking for additional state money when the Thornton Commission's study on education funding is completed this year, Mr. Rawlings said.
The state-appointed task force is expected to call for a sharp boost in aid.
"The $300-plus million proposal for Baltimore city is going to be equivalent to $200-plus million for Prince George's County, about $100 million for Montgomery County and about $150 million for Baltimore County," Mr. Rawlings said. "And if you keep adding, that's up to about a billion dollars."
A spokesman for Gov. Parris N. Glendening, Democrat, said major new spending is not planned for next year's budget.
"The watchword right now for all of our budget preparations is prudence and caution," Glendening spokesman Mike Morrill said.
City officials said the money would be used to continue academic reforms at the elementary level and pay for new reform initiatives in middle schools and high schools.
Preliminary studies by the Thornton Commission say the state needs to spend as much as $2 billion more on public education.
"We believe that the work that was done by the Thornton Commission actually lays the groundwork for this request," said Carmen V. Russo, Baltimore's chief executive officer for schools.
The commission, which is expected to suggest several ways of raising additional state revenues to pay for increases in education aid, is holding public hearings in five locations around the state on Monday.
More than half of the city school system's $860 million budget is funded by the state. The city and state agreed to a partnership in 1997 under which the school system was given $254 million in additional funding.
School officials also have asked for additional resources each year.
This year's request, outlined in a 140-page document submitted to the governor Friday, is more than three times the $101 million the system asked for last year, of which the city was given $55 million.


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