Educators in Maryland want to see casino revenues used for schools of the state.
In states across the US, there are several gaming venues in operation. From commercial casinos and tribal gaming venues, to racinos and bingo halls, there are a number of gaming options located across the nation. In states that provide gambling, there are laws in place that dictate where the revenues are to be allocated. Sometimes, revenues are used for education of students while revenues are also used for senior care, local municipality needs, etc. In Maryland, educators want to see casino revenues used to fund schools in the state. A rally took place in the state recently, demanding that changes be made to the law to increase the amount of funding going towards Maryland schools.
Fix The Fund Act
Hundreds of people, including teachers, parents and students, took to the Maryland State House recently to rally in support of the Fix The Fund Act. The act would allow an amendment for the state constitution to be placed on the ballot this November to provide more funds for schools.
Protestors saw their efforts pay off this week as the state Senate approved the Act late on Monday. While this is certainly a win, the bill has yet to gain approval from the House of Delegates. The Senate approval vote took place soon after the rally by those who want to see the proposal move forward.
Many of those in attendance during the rally wore the color red and held up signs that pushed for an increase in casino revenues for education. Many feel that a promise made by the government to use casino gaming to help state schools has not been kept. The schools continue to be underfunded and budgets continue to get tighter, while classroom size only grows larger.
Teachers commented during the rally that they do not have enough supplies or materials to support students to ensure that no one falls behind. More students today have mental health issues and emotional trauma that creates a learning barrier. Schools are without social workers, psychologists and counselors that could assist with these issues.
Money Being Spent Elsewhere
Educators have been strong proponents to the Fix The Fund Act. Supporters feel that this act will fix what they are calling a broken promise. When casinos were first approved years ago, it was presented that the revenues generated would go towards education efforts. Supposedly, funds are being used for education but additional money is being set aside and used for other things. Educators, like the Education Association of St. Mary’s County President, Jill Morris, says that the government is stealing the money and educators want it back. With the money being allocated to other things, it is taking away from the promise to assist the school system.
Since the state Senate passed the bill, in its third reading, the House of Delegates must do the same. If approved, the Act will then be voted upon during the November ballot. Because the Act is an amendment to the constitution, a signature by the governor is not required. Governor Larry Hogan is supportive of the concept within the Fix The Fund Act but has proposed a measure that he feels will work better.
The Commitment to Education Act of 2018 was created by Hogan to ensure money from the casinos goes directly to the education system for K-12 providing increased funding. It will be interesting to see if any either bill moves forward and if the education system of the state will be provided with much-needed funding.