Fun with math – Wednesday, January 28th

Governor Larry Hogan’s state budget proposal for the next fiscal year would cut $35 million from funding for Baltimore’s public schools. The cut would come despite an overall increase in the state’s education budget.

About 2/3 of the cut would come from a reduction in “geographic aid” (Baltimore schools have usually received more money per pupil than other districts). The other third depends on the recent increase in property value assessments in the city; Hogan is arguing that as property wealth increase in Baltimore, the city should pull more of its own weight in funding education.

That’s not a new argument or an unreasonable expectation, but it depends on property tax assessments (which can fluctuate yearly – or just be plain wrong). It also ignores that a major reason Baltimore has been able to grow its property wealth is hundreds of millions of dollars of tax breaks and credits given to developers and homebuyers, meaning that it could be years before Baltimore sees any substantial property tax revenue growth. It’s completely unclear how Baltimore would address these cuts, and too early to say if they’ll pass into law. Baltimore Rex will keep on top of this.

Kyron Aikens, one of the four boys who fell through ice on Sunday, died on Monday. Aikens was 13. Aikens spent over an hour in the pond before being pulled from the water by emergency responders.

At a community meeting in Canton, City Councilman Jim Kraft announced that he wouldn’t be running for reelection in 2016. Kraft, who serves the city’s 1st District (including Canton, Fells Point, most of Highlandtown) says that he plans on running for another local position, to be announced.

Baltimore City officials are denying a civil suit from the owner of a dog that died after capture by police last summer, claiming that Baltimore City Police Department officers are not city employees, so the city can’t be held liable for their actions. Officer Jeffery Bolger is accused of slitting the dog’s throat, after the dog was already restrained. Bolger is also facing criminal animal cruelty charges. City Solicitor George Nilson claims that the city still plans to “make good” with the owner.

The 32-story blast furnace at the former Sparrows Point steel mill is scheduled for implosion today between noon and 2pm.