Maryland Senate Committee vote enables continuity of BOOST program
Late last Friday afternoon, mere minutes before the onset of the Jewish Sabbath, the Maryland House Appropriations Committee voted to slash the funding for the BOOST nonpublic school scholarship program. The committee rejected Governor Larry Hogan’s budget allocation of $6.85 million, reduced it to $2 million, and modified the language of the program to limit scholarships to applicants “who attended public schools during the 2015-2016 school year”. The move dashed the hopes of over 2,000 nonpublic school students currently receiving a BOOST scholarship – of receiving this vital state benefit again for the next school year. Thankfully, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee had other plans, and in their budget decisions rendered Thursday afternoon rejected the House proposal, thus restoring the Governor’s allocation and rejecting the attempt to limit program eligibility. This move was warmly received by nonpublic school advocates and thousands of Maryland families. The next step in the process is for the entire Senate to vote on the committee’s budget report. The final step is the budget reconciliation process when the House and Senate merge their respective budgets and adopt the final product.