MOE Difficulties in Montgomery & Prince George’s Counties May Lead to Legislation

The Gazette ran a story on December 18 highlighting the challenges the maintenance of effort (MOE) law poses for Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.  An attorney general’s opinion has found that both counties failed to meet MOE for FY 2010.  The Prince George’s County school system has released a budget of $1.67 billion for FY 2011, which includes a possible $26 million MOE penalty from the State.  The Montgomery County School System could be fined up to $46 million.  MOE reform is one of MACo’s 2010 Legislative Initiatives.

Last session, MACo sought a one-year waiver of maintenance of effort for all Maryland counties. But “we’re not sure we know our exact strategy for the upcoming year,” said Michael Sanderson, MACo’s executive director.

MACo would prefer a change to the maintenance of effort law to allow waivers to be granted if counties can’t afford to fund their school system, Sanderson said.

On Monday, House Speaker Michael E. Busch said lawmakers plan to consider ways to rework the law and the criteria for getting a waiver from payment.

“That’ll be one of the undertakings that we take up during the General Assembly session,” said Busch (D-Dist. 30) of Annapolis.

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