As legislative leaders continue to squabble over who was responsible for the General Assembly’s inability to sign off on an agreed-upon tax package before the end of the session, School Superintendent William Hite Jr. is trying to apply pressure on them to resolve their differences and schedule a special session to address the state budget.
Hite said he and the Board of Education have written to Gov. Martin O’Malley, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael Busch (D-Anne Arundel). He sent a message asking parents to do the same.
But this week it appeared as though a resolution was no closer than it was on April 9 when the General Assembly adjourned.
In a letter sent to state senators this week, Sen. Miller accused members of the House of participating in actions at the end of the session that were both “immature and beneath the dignity of the General Assembly.” Miller was responding to Busch, who has complained that the senate president was obsessed with the bill that would bring a casino to Prince George’s County, creating an impasse at the close of the session.
Since then, Hite said he has been reevaluating the school system’s $1.65 billion budget.
“Because the General Assembly session ended without the approval of the Fiscal Year 2013 budget submitted by [O’Malley], our school system is now faced with an additional $51 million in cuts,” Hite wrote. “Needless to say this would have a substantial impact on our students, teachers, staff and schools…If a special session is not scheduled to resolve the inaction on the governor’s budget, our system will once again face draconian cuts that would likely result in even larger class sizes, program cuts and significant position reductions.”