ANNAPOLIS – Gov. Parris N. Glendening said Thursday that the extra money he has promised education will not be enough to make up for proposed federal cuts.
Glendening told members of his task force on federal cuts that plans by the U.S. House and Senate would hit the disadvantaged the hardest and quickest.
The governor said he was worried that cuts in student loans would price “middle class and working families” out of higher education in Maryland. He also expressed concerns about K-12 students losing drug prevention and free-or-reduced-cost lunch programs.
State School Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, calling the cuts “detrimental,” added literacy education for adults, math and science training for teachers and violence prevention money to Glendening’s list of concerns.
Grasmick said state K-12 programs face between $33.3 million and $16.1 million in federal cuts for the year that began Oct. 1. “There is absolutely no way the state can compensate for these losses,” she said.
K-12 officials believe Title 1 programs, which support instruction of disavantaged students, will be hit hardest. Title 1 could lose $15.4 million under the House proposal and $8.3 million under the Senate proposal, state educators said.
The impact will be felt in all 24 Maryland school districts, they said, but will be worst in Baltimore, which would lose $8.8 million. Prince George’s County would be next with a $2.4 million loss.
Higher education officials could not provide an immediate dollar estimate for the impact on their institutions. But Paul Sweet, the University of Maryland System’s lobbyist in Washington, expects cuts to have both direct and indirect effects on research, health services and education.
Sweet said that students would be hardest hit. “We are going to be forced to find more money,” he said. “Some of that’s going to have to come from tuition.”
Sweet said university officials expect the cuts to force students to drop out of University of Maryland system schools, or to enroll part-time instead of full-time.
Maryland Higher Education Secretary Patricia S. Florestano said cuts in loan and grant programs will affect students the most. More than 61 percent of Maryland undergraduates receive some type of financial aid, she added.
The House has proposed reducing funds for Pell grants from $6.9 billion to $5.7 billion. In Maryland, Florestano said, 4,000 students could lose their grants.
Moreover, proposals in the House and Senate would eliminate interest-free grace periods on student loans, and charging Maryland institutions up to $13 million to participate in federal loan programs.
Glendening told education officials to look at what can be cut internally, because there would be no increases in state funding beyond what he has already promised. In a speech in September, the governor pledged to raise state support for primary and secondary education by up to 4 percent and for higher education by up to 3 percent.
“The reality is that we simply do not have the resources in the state to backfill the federal cuts,” said State Budget Secretary Marita B. Brown. -30-