On Monday, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) called on Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to release millions of dollars to fund to schools in the state, according to The Washington Post.
Van Hollen asked Hogan to authorize the use of $68 million, which has already been set aside by the Maryland General Assembly to subsidize the state's largest and costliest districts. However, during state budget negotiations, Hogan said he would not allow the use of these funds unless more money is put toward supporting state employees' pension funds, The Washington Post reports.
Public schools in Baltimore -- where Hogan declared a state of emergency on Monday after violent protests and riots erupted -- will be "severely affected" if the $68 million is not released, Jessica Jackson of the Baltimore Teachers Union told The Huffington Post. The riots broke out after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died last week after receiving severe spinal injuries while in police custody. Baltimore City Schools were closed Tuesday after a night of violent protests around the city.
Teacher groups and politicians around the state have objected to Hogan's reluctance to appropriate the education funds. They say that without these funds, districts may have to start laying off staff, according to The Baltimore Sun.
"That money is essential to the well-being of our education system," Michael E. Busch, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, said last week.
Surrounded by a delegation of fellow politicians, Van Hollen said Monday that he hopes “Governor Hogan will answer the call of this delegation as well as other delegations around the state to release the education funding for our kids’ schools. He needs to do the right thing.”
In response to these concerns, Hogan said that he is trying to put Maryland on a more "fiscally responsible path," according to CBS Baltimore.
“While we’re trying to do everything we can to fully fund education, we also have to be concerned about the economic vitality of the state and whether or not we can stay afloat and pay the bills,” Gov. Hogan said.