Md. Legislature Passes Private School Voucher Program

Maryland legislators voted in March to approve a budget that includes $5 million in grants for low-income students who wish to attend private schools.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has indicated he will sign the bill. The proposal is the culmination of a decade-long attempt by voucher advocates to funnel public money to private schools.

Teachers unions had opposed the measure. Sean Johnson, who represents the Maryland State Education Association, told The Washington Post the group will continue to lobby against it.

“We’re hoping to make it a one-year bad idea and not a permanent bad idea,” he said.

Voucher bills had died in previous years in Maryland, but this year two Democratic lawmakers from Baltimore lobbied hard for the measure and apparently persuaded some opponents, including Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller (D-Calvert), to change their minds.

Students will be able to use the funds for tuition at religious schools, which critics like Americans United deem a violation of the separation of church and state.