Hogan criticizes Baltimore schools, would consider financial control board

Gov. Larry Hogan criticized the Baltimore school system for its money management Thursday and suggested that additional financial oversight might be part of any deal to send more state aid to the city.

Speaking with a hoarse voice at a wide-ranging news conference in Annapolis, Hogan said he recently had a “good meeting” with Mayor Catherine Pugh and expected to sit down with her again to discuss the school system’s $130 million budget shortfall.

However, the governor expressed dissatisfaction with the Baltimore school board — which he helps appoint — saying it kept “spending as if they thought they were going to get more money.”

In response to a question, Hogan said creating a financial control board could be on the table.

“It will be part of the conversation,” Hogan said. “So far we have had very preliminary discussions.”

While the governor did not elaborate, a financial control board is generally understood to be a panel that oversees a government authority, such as a school board, and has veto power over its financial decisions.

The system is expected to be used to provide services to such clients as children in foster care and families in need.

Hogan was joined at the announcement by several high-level administration officials, including chief of staff Sam Malhotra, described by the governor as “the visionary” behind the program.

Malhotra said the technology will allow the state to provide social services case workers with tablet devices they can use to provide services while in the field instead of having to wait until they are back in the office.

“To do that in real time is remarkable,” Malhotra said. He described MD THINK as “nothing more than a large data repository in the Cloud” — keeping information stored on shared computer networks that minimize the need to own physical servers.

Baltimore Sun reporters Luke Broadwater and Tim Prudente contributed to this article.



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