• Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., R
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. this week made yet another pitch for a bill legalizing slot-machine gambling in Maryland to pay for education, although similar bills have been rejected by the legislature three years in a row.
In his Jan. 26 State of the State Address, Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican who has announced he will run for re-election this year in the Democratic-majority state, said the bill would help pay for the construction costs of new schools “so desperately needed in every part of the state.”
Finance: Mr. Ehrlich said funding for schools in Maryland has increased by more than $1 billion over the past three years, and funding for school construction has more than doubled. In January, the governor unveiled a fiscal 2007 budget that would allocate $4.5 billion for K-12 schools, for an 11.3 percent boost over the current fiscal year. The increases include $462 million in basic school aid and an additional $281 million for school construction funds.
Read a complete transcript of Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s 2006 State of the State address. Posted by Maryland’s Office of the Governor.
“Few believed we could fund the Thornton formula without additional revenues. But we did,” Mr. Ehrlich said, referring to a school finance commission headed by Alvin Thornton, the associate vice provost at Howard University in Washington, whose work led to a state law mandating an increase of $1.3 billion in school aid between 2003 and 2007.
Test Scores: Mr. Ehrlich also credited his administration with improving reading and mathematics scores on the Maryland School Assessment given to all students in public schools between grades 3 and 8. Scores rose in all of the state’s 24 school systems last year.