Education in Montgomery County would bear the brunt of the jurisdiction’s pain if the governor’s plans for tax increases and slot machines are not adopted by state lawmakers.
Big cuts in aid to counties, libraries, schools, universities, health care, state police and dozens of other programs would be needed if the legislature doesn’t pass tax increases next month, Gov. Martin O’Malley warned Tuesday as he introduced his version of a “doomsday” budget.
Montgomery County alone would see an estimated loss of about $86 million under O’Malley’s worst-case scenario.
Cuts in state funding for county education programs would constitute more than half of the loss in funding, with a potential freeze of $18.4 million in money for the state’s Thornton plan for funding equitable education across the board, according to information provided by the state Wednesday.
The state would freeze $12.8 million in teacher retirement payments; reduce by $4.3 million support for Montgomery College; and delay issuing $9.2 million to the county in cost-of-living-adjustment funds for education.
“I am not shocked by these figures at all,” Montgomery County Education Association Director Tom Israel said. “I will be shocked as will our schools if they come to fruition. The state does need to address the tax side of things.”
Israel said freezing state contributions to teacher pensions could pit school districts across the state against each other in a struggle to hire and retain teachers.
“Montgomery County might be more willing and able to continue to pay pension benefits if the state …