From the office of Del. Kathy Szeliga:
State Delegate Kathy Szeliga was surprised to learn about the questionable funding priorities for Maryland’s community colleges. “Today in the Appropriations Committee, there was compelling testimony in favor of a brilliant measure that will help foster kids have better access to a college education,” said Szeliga. She continued, “I was surprised to find the Maryland Association of Community Colleges opposing a measure to help foster kids while supporting a measure last week to help illegal aliens get a college education.”
In written testimony to the Ways and Means Committee, the Maryland Association of Community Colleges stated that supporting illegal immigrants’ children would be beneficial because they “were brought here by their parents and had no choice in the matter” and society would have to, “pick up the social costs in less desirable ways such as policing crime.” However, the Maryland Community Colleges said a tuition waiver for foster kids should be rejected because it will “benefit a particular group at no cost to the taxpayer.”
“My constituents and I are strongly opposed to taxpayer funding of educational benefits for those here in our state without legal documentation,” Szeliga contested. “Helping foster kids, our vulnerable population that are truly victims of their parent’s inability to care for them, is a reasonable and a just responsibility.” There are currently less than 100 foster kids enrolled in a tuition exemption program that is under consideration. Delegate CT Wilson from Charles County introduced HB 1208 to enhance an existing program for foster children.
Delegate Wilson grew up in the foster care system and brought strong testimony in favor of this measure. Delegate Kathy Szeliga, a former foster parent, supports this measure and thinks this is one of the better bills of the 2011 session.
“Shame on you, Maryland Association of Community Colleges, for supporting illegal immigrants over Maryland’s foster kids,” said Delegate Kathy Szeliga after the hearings in the Maryland House of Delegates Appropriations Committee ended.