BALTIMORE, Md. — A group of Baltimore City parents and civil rights organizations made a court appearance to reopen the historic Bradford vs. Maryland State Board of Education in an effort to challenge the State of Maryland's funding for Baltimore students.
The hope is for the state to revamp the education funding formula. The ACLU of Maryland says the Bradford lawsuit will hold the State accountable for their failure in providing funding for city student's education and the schools physical state that affects the students learning environment.
ACLU of Maryland said according to the State Department of Legislative Services, Baltimore City students have been deprived of $2 billion in required funding. They concluded Baltimore City schools needed $358 million as mandated by the General Assembly, but were only granted $290 million in the 2015 fiscal year.
Baltimore City School released a statement in support of the legal action made by parents.
Over the past decade, Baltimore City Public Schools has worked to provide a high-quality education to Baltimore’s children despite what the State of Maryland itself acknowledges as state funding shortfalls amounting to at least $290 million annually. In a city where concentrations of poverty contribute to creating greater educational need than elsewhere in the state, sustained under-funding means that Baltimore’s children do not receive the resources and support to which they are entitled under the state’s constitution—and that are routinely available to students in other school districts. It means that most City Schools students go to school in decrepit buildings without drinkable water or adequate heating and cooling. We thank the ACLU for its continued advocacy on behalf of Baltimore’s children. With full adoption of recommendations from the state’s Kirwan Commission and a new education funding formula now not anticipated for two years or more, City Schools supports today’s legal action and applauds the strong position taken by the parents representing our families. Baltimore’s children have already waited too long for the education funding they deserve and that is promised to them and to all children in Maryland by state law.
The ACLU of Maryland is working to meet the funding needs of students in majority black and poverty stricken jurisdictions. To learn more about the lawsuit, click here.