Parents, Civil Rights Groups Sue Maryland For Underfunding Public Schools

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The State of Maryland is facing fresh allegations of failing to adequately fund Baltimore Schools, according to a brief jointly filed by parents, American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and NAACP Legal Defense fund on Thursday, March 7.

“We must invest in our future leaders, which is our children today!” Angela Gant, mother of two children currently in Baltimore City Public Schools said in a press release “Our children have the right to a great education. They need access to the tutoring and support resources in schools that help them learn and thrive.”

The plaintiffs, representing parents like Grant, argue the state is in violation of an agreement reached in Bradford v. Maryland State Board of Education, which found the state had failed to fulfill its obligations regarding funding for education outlined in Article VIII of the Maryland constitution.

“I would like our leaders to know that students in Baltimore also have a dream, and just because some of us aren’t rich enough to have those dreams come true doesn’t mean they should be taken away from us,” said Deshawna Bryant, a senior at City College High School in Baltimore. “The fact that we don’t have heating or air conditioning or all this funding, takes away from those dreams and it makes it harder for people to want to go to college.”

Baltimore City Public Schools has an annual operating budget of $1.3 billion, which is the 4th highest among the 100 largest school districts in the country. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) frequently cites this statistic to argue that Baltimore is not underfunded, rather mismanaged. This was the same argument the state, under Democratic leadership in the 1990s, made against allegations of historic underfunding. Courts ruled in the favor of the plaintiffs, forcing Maryland to increase funding for public schools.

“Our children cannot wait any longer,” said Dana Vickers Shelley, Executive Director of the ACLU of Maryland. “For decades, the State of Maryland has abdicated its responsibility to provide adequate funding for both instruction and to address the abysmal physical condition of school facilities in Baltimore City.”

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Source: The Real News | Parents, Civil Rights Groups Sue Maryland For Underfunding Public Schools


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