Educators Pick Sides
PGCEA Endorses Question 7 in Support of Education
WASHINGTON, DC – With an overwhelming number advertisements focused on gaming in Maryland, there is an uncertainty of whether voters should vote 'for' or 'against' Question 7 in the general election. From Maryland's former educators to legislative leaders, questions remain. After a vote from the Prince George's County Educators' Associations' (PGCEA) the union that represents over 9,000 professional employees and educators, has taken a position, and today the leadership body of Prince George's County Educators' Association is announcing support and endorsement of Question 7, the expansion of gaming for Prince George's County.
“Our organization faces with some stark realities after several years of budget reductions that have cut vital instructional programs and reduced the school district by over 3,000 positions.” says Kenneth Haines, President of PGCEA. “These acts have taken a tremendous toll on our school district. Question 7 offers some level of hope for new revenues and economic growth potential that has not been present in the past few years. We believe this to be a strictly a local issue and one that is in the best interest of the students we serve and the members that we
represent. We cannot remain undecided on the sidelines on an issue that directly impacts our community.”
Since his inception in 2010, Prince George's County Executive, Rushern Baker has made education and public safety top priorities for Prince George's County. By adding an additional $34M to the Board of Education budget and exceeding Maintenance of Effort in the last two years in spite of declining county revenues and cuts to most departments; Baker has demonstrated his commitment to educators across the County.
In August, the General Assembly approved gaming legislation that calls for a public vote on a sixth casino in Prince George's County. Currently, Maryland has authorized five slot sites, three of which are currently open. Nonpartisan legislative staff estimates the program will generate about $260 million this year for education and expect that figure to grow to around $580 million over the next four years.
“We firmly believe that Rushern Baker has a clear vision to support our schools by making the investment needed to bring innovation back to our classrooms and to retain and recruit the professionals needed to do the job and to pay them a competitive wage,” Haines continues. “That is why the educators say vote 'Yes' to Question 7.”