To the ire of his state’s lawmakers, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has offered a final proposal of $200 million to settle a 13-year-old lawsuit over inequitable funding of the state’s four historically black colleges and universities — less than half of the sought amount.
Hogan’s administration made the offer Thursday in a letter to Del. Darryl Barnes (D-Prince George’s), chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, although colleges in the case were willing to settle for $577 million over a reasonable timeline.
The letter also notes how Maryland has gradually increased HBCU funding and that support for the schools has exceeded increases for the state’s traditionally white institutions.
“It is critical that any resolution of this case recognize the significant strides made by the State of Maryland to remedy these historic inequities over the administrations of the last four governors working with their partners in the legislature,” the letter stated. “Maryland has expanded the roles and missions of Maryland’s HBCUs, increasing both their operating and capital funding, and has taken positive steps to address program duplication — all commenced prior to the filing of the lawsuit in 2006, and continued and enhanced over the last five years by the Hogan administration.”
Hogan’s offer comes on the heels of several rounds of stalled settlement efforts in the courts, up to the point where lawmakers were urged to become directly involved with resolving the case.
The proposed settlement affects Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore — all which of sued Maryland in 2006 for underfunding and undermining their academic programs.