Last night the Maryland Non-Public Schools Legislative Coalition, of which the Orthodox Union’s Institute for Public Affairs is a founding member, held seventeen Legislative Forums across Maryland to advocate to their local elected officials on restoring cut textbook funding, expanding the teacher training tax credit, and enacting the BOAST Maryland Education Tax Credit that would infuse $25 million in new money to our schools.
For the first time, two of the forums were held at Jewish Day Schools — the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville and the Talmudical Academy in Baltimore.
Howie Beigelman, OU Deputy Director of Public Policy and a member of the Coalition’s Steering Committee, stated “That hundreds of parents and concerned members of our own community came out on a weeknight to meet their elected officials and advocate for fairer and increased education funding for all is a major statement of how important this issue is for us.”
The legislators were asked specifically to support:
§ Restoring $2 million in cut funding to the textbook/technology initiative, which now provides an average of just $30 per-pupil, down from $60 a few years ago. More funds are needed to adequately provide the textbooks and computer hardware needed in today’s classrooms.
§ To expand the teacher training tax credit to include all teachers across the state. Today, not all teachers can claim the $1,500 per year credit for coursework that gets them, and keeps them, certified.
§ To enact BOAST Maryland, an educational investment tax credit program to bring new, corporate donations into our schools. Modeled after a successful Pennsylvania program, BOAST would help provide scholarships to nonpublic school students as well as enrichment, after school activities and tutoring to public school students.
Mr. Beigelman continued “Every child deserves the best education — and these policies see they get it — at minimal cost to the state. As they go to Annapolis to do the people’s business, it was important for our elected officials to see the breadth of our coalition, the various neighborhoods and communities represented.”