Gov. Hogan is 'patently false' on Baltimore city school funding, says edfintech founder - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Jan. 16, 2018 11:21 am

Gov. Hogan is ‘patently false’ on Baltimore city school funding, says edfintech founder

Jess Gartner, the CEO of Allovue, brings a “fact/reality check” to the funding debate that followed images of students in freezing schools.
Allovue’s Jess Gartner at the LearnLaunch edtech pitch competition in Cambridge, Mass.

Allovue's Jess Gartner at the LearnLaunch edtech pitch competition in Cambridge, Mass.

(Photo via Twitter)

As headlines spread across the country showing Baltimore students in schools that lacked heat, the local policy debate turned to public school funding.

It’s an area that Jess Gartner knows well. She is the founder of Allovue, the Remington-based edfintech startup that makes a platform to help school districts manage budgets and spending.

Amid the debate, Gartner, a former Baltimore city teacher, has been calling out statements made by Gov. Larry Hogan. Last week, the Baltimore Sun published an op-ed by Gartner in which she laid out a “fact/reality check” the governor.

Read the op-ed

To the governor’s statement in a press conference that Baltimore city “may be the most highly funded school system in America,” she said it was “patently false.”

On Jan. 8, Hogan approved $2.5 million in “emergency funding” to help fix heating problems in Baltimore.

The debate, however, will continue in Annapolis. Calling it an “accountability and management and competency issue,” Hogan is proposing a bill to create an office of the State Education Investigator General.

However, his office continues to share funding stats. On Jan. 12, a Facebook post from Hogan said per pupil spending in Baltimore city schools is “the 4th highest in the nation.”

Gartner once again said the claim was false, saying it was taken “from a table that is *clearly* labeled as only the top 100 largest districts (there are nearly 16k districts).”

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In an email to Technical.ly Baltimore on Tuesday, Gartner outlined steps she believes should be taken, saying she expects “more from our state leaders.” Find it below:

“These are solvable problems. There are real innovative solutions to identify and resolve fiscal inequity and elevate fiscal strategy – and they’re being developed in the Governor’s own state. There are concrete steps that other states are taking to address education finance challenges. Normalize finance data across the state to facilitate apples-to-apples comparisons. Propose legislation for increased data transparency at a level of granularity where analysis is meaningful. Rally district leaders across the state around goals and monitor which resources are working best for students. Fix the regressive funding formula to ensure that Maryland is funding schools equitably. These are all options that would be productive and collaborative. Instead, all I have seen is blame-shifting and finger-pointing through a vehicle of misinformation.”
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