BALTIMORE, MD. (WUSA9) - The Arctic cold snap may be helping to expose what some call a big lie in Maryland.
It has to do with broken down schools and casino money that some critics claim has proven to be a bait and switch scheme by Maryland's legislature and two governors.
This week the focus is on Baltimore which is enduring a scandal over schools with no heat, but the money issue is statewide.
In Baltimore scandal has erupted as at least seven schools were forced to close for repairs after thousands of children returned from their vacations to find below freezing classrooms and buildings damaged by broken pipes.
The Baltimore Sun reported finances are so screwed up, the school system was unable to find a way to spend more than $60 million in state repair funds in the past 6 years.
Other school districts are also struggling. In 2017 Prince George's County cut the school system's requested budget by $90 million.
Many Marylanders were led to believe that the expansion of gambling in 2011 would put an end to troubles like these.
Instead, Maryland's Comptroller Peter Franchot has called the entire scheme a "lie".
The blame does not lie with the casinos. The expansion of gambling has delivered at least $2 billion to Maryland's Education Trust Fund since 2011.
However, legislators responsible for Maryland's budget then reduced the amount of general fund tax revenue dedicated to schools, to spend the money on other priorities. In 2011 Maryland spent 21% of its general fund on schools. In 2016 it was 18%.
Former Delegate Heather Mizeur, who ran for Governor in 2014, has called it a "bait and switch."
This week, thousands of freezing school children in Baltimore are paying the price.
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