The House sent HB 304 over to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee with modest changes from its original version and an amendment to sunset the waiver process provision as outlined in the bill in 2013. No hearing date has been set. The amended bill establishes a waiver process for a county to apply for a waiver to the Superintendent of Schools, not the State Board of Education. The bill spells out the issues that the Superintendent takes into consideration when evaluating the request. The State Superintendent makes the decision to grant or deny the waiver. The cross file of the bill, SB 310 was passed by the Senate with no changes from its original version. A hearing for the bill is set for March 31 in the House Ways and Means Committee.
It is unlikely the General Assembly will agree on a final version of the Maintenance of Effort legislation by March 31, the deadline by which counties must submit a waiver request to the State Board of Education for an FY 2011 waiver, per current statute. At its meeting last week, the State Board of Education decided that counties seeking a waiver for FY 2011 must submit a letter to the State Board by April 1, 2010 stating the amount of the requested waiver and the percentage of the total MOE amount the waiver request represents. The notice was posted on the MSDE website last week and the MACo blog.
If the General Assembly acts on any of the MOE waiver legislation, the State Board will announce a FY 2011 MOE waiver process and the deadlines that will apply.