State lawmakers propose bill to increase school funding from gambling revenues


Greenstein, June M (Student)

Graphic by Meimei Greenstein.

By Eva Herscowitz

Maryland General Assembly members Delegate Maggie McIntosh and State Senator Joan Carter Conway proposed an amendment to the state Constitution Jan. 30 to ensure that casino gambling revenues would add to—rather than merely fulfill the requirements of—Maryland’s K-12 education budget.  

After voters approved slot machine gambling in 2008, lawmakers pledged that the additional revenue would enhance education funding beyond the budgeted amount. Due to the 2008 Great Recession, however, legislators diverted this additional revenue to other programs.

Now, legislators are seeking to return the funding to its originally intended area, Maryland BOE member Rose Li said.

“When a law is passed, certain funds are supposed to go to certain purposes,” Li said. “It is important to be faithful to the original intent. If the gambling money is supposed to go to education, it should go to education.”

If McIntosh and Carter’s amendment is passed, legislators will phase out the previous legislation over four years. Gradual implementation would allow legislators to decide where to funnel the new funds, Matthew Stegman, McIntosh’s chief of staff, said.

“Phasing it in gives the legislature time to adjust and figure out where they can find the formula education funding elsewhere in the budget so they don’t have to find four to five hundred million dollars all at once,” Stegman said.

Sophomore Katie Hanson appreciates the intent of the proposal, she said.

“I’m glad to hear that money will go towards public education, especially because I’ve noticed that even a well-funded school like Whitman could use more funds sometimes,” Hanson said.

Stegman hopes the proposal will equalize opportunities for all students in Maryland, he said.

“We need to make sure that our schools have resources that allow kids all over the state to have the education they deserve,” he said.