Saving The BOOST Program


The 2023 Maryland legislative session has ended. For me, one of the most important actions that was taken was the preservation of the Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) program. School choice in Maryland is available for those who can afford it. BOOST is a small part of Maryland’s budget that provides the same opportunities to those who would otherwise not have that same choice.

Since 2016, Maryland has offered families with limited incomes access to scholarships through the BOOST scholarship program. BOOST gives families of kindergarten students through high school seniors the opportunity to select a non-public school for their children if that is the best educational fit for their children’s needs. The program puts more options within reach for Maryland families and children, particularly those who are most in need. These scholarships have helped about 20,000 students since 2016.

Despite the life-changing success stories, BOOST was slated for the chopping block this year. Governor Wes Moore’s budget proposal cut funding for BOOST by 20% — from $10 million to $8 million — and included language that would phase out the program entirely. To me, this made no sense as it would hurt the poorest, most vulnerable children in Maryland.

We heard countless stories of children who were trapped in failing schools, violent schools, and just trying to escape an environment of bullying. BOOST gives families the opportunity to send their children to a school that will maximize their potential.

A group of House and Senate Republicans and Democrats came together to call for the full funding of the BOOST program and press for the removal of the phase-out language. In the end, the BOOST program received $11.5 million in Fiscal Year 2024, with $9 million going to scholarships and $2.5 million available to participating schools for safety, textbooks, nurses and other school health expenses. This reflects another $1.5 million in funding for the program. Additionally, language that would have phased out the BOOST program was removed. In 2024, I will again work to make sure BOOST is funded and becomes permanent.

Saving BOOST this legislative session was, without question, one of the most important and critical actions taken. Saving this program and restoring funding will have an impact far beyond 2023 for Maryland. Each child who receives an education through BOOST will be an enduring reminder of the importance of this vital program. I am proud to have contributed to saving this program for the citizens of the 31st district and all of Maryland.


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