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Statement From County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III
Upper Marlboro, MD - Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, released this statement following criticism from the Prince George’s County Educators Association (PGCEA) in regards to funding of the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) from the Prince George’s County Government.
“This week, the Prince George’s County Educators Association has, questioned my support of teachers and the work they do. I want to be clear: their criticism and concerns could not be further from the truth.
I have spent my political career fighting for public education. Every office I have held, in and outside of public life, has been centered around ensuring that our schools are the best they can be for students, parents, teachers and administrators. Since the day I was sworn-in as County Executive, I have made public education my top priority. As a result, I have increased County funding of Prince George’s County Public Schools from $599 million in FY 2011 to $764 million in the proposed FY 2019 budget. In fact, over the past 4 years, the County has exceeded the State’s maintenance of effort funding requirement for the school system by approximately $73 million during my administration. We made a commitment to investing in the future of our children and families.
Additionally, stabilizing teacher turnover has been an important goal of my administration. As a result, our teachers have received an increase of 10% in their salaries over the past five years. Furthermore, the teachers union recent negotiation and signing of a new two-year contract with the school system in January included the largest pay increase they have received in over a decade.
I realize that our teachers still lag behind some school districts in Maryland and in the region, which is why I have been outspoken in my attempts to raise more revenue and funds for our school system. Our teachers and students deserve compensation that is on par with neighboring jurisdictions and my efforts were to ensure that teachers and students had the best learning environment possible. In fact, I fought side-by-side with the Prince George’s County Educators Association and successfully secured new funding for our schools.
As a former PGCPS parent, PTA leader, a Maryland State Delegate, a CEO of a non-profit focused on recruiting public school teachers, and, now, as County Executive, I have never wavered from my goal of improving the Prince George’s County Public Schools. At times I have made bold decisions in order to see progress and create change, but at the heart of each decision has been the children and families of Prince George’s County. I remain convinced that if we focus on the end goal of building a quality school system, better days are ahead.
I want the members of PGCEA to know that I will continue to fight for them, because my respect for teachers runs deep. When I was in high school, it was a teacher who introduced me to the book Black Boy, by Richard Wright. That book and teacher changed my life and ever since then, I have been working to repay her by giving children a chance to find their path to success.”