Today the State Board of Education announced its procedures for the counties seeking FY 2011 waivers from the maintenance of effort funding requirements of state law. With the failure of MACo’s initiative legislation seeking to amend that process, the Board is essentially left implementing the same statutory process it used for FY 2010 waivers last year, which resulted in their denial of all three requesting counties.
While the details of the various filings are indicated in the press release from the State Board, the actual timing of the process raises questions. From the press release, here are the relevant dates:
Date for Filing MOE Brief: May 3, 2010 by 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time)
Date of Filing Local Board Position Paper on Waiver Request: May 10, 2010 by 5:00 p.m.
Date of Filing Response/Comment by Public and other organizations to the MOE Waiver Request: May 10, 2010 by 5:00 p.m.
Date by which County may File a Reply to all Responses and Comments: May 12, 2010 by 5:00 p.m.
Date of Public Hearing: May 25, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.
What is not clear how this timetable squares with that required under current state law, Education Article Section 5-202 (d)(7), with emphasis added:
(7) (i) The provisions of this subsection do not apply to a county if the county is granted a temporary waiver or partial waiver from the provisions by the State Board of Education based on a determination that the county’s fiscal condition significantly impedes the county’s ability to fund the maintenance of effort requirement.
(ii) After a public hearing, the State Board of Education may grant a waiver under this paragraph in accordance with its regulations.
(iii) In order to qualify for the waiver under this paragraph for a fiscal year, a county shall make a request for a waiver to the State Board of Education by April 1 of the prior fiscal year.
(iv) The State Board of Education shall inform the county whether the waiver for a fiscal year is approved or denied in whole or in part by May 15 of the prior fiscal year.
(v) If the State Board of Education grants a county a temporary waiver or partial waiver from the provisions of this subsection for any fiscal year, the minimum appropriation of local funds required under this subsection for the county to be eligible to receive the State share of the foundation program for the next fiscal year shall be calculated based on the per pupil local appropriation for the prior fiscal year or the second prior fiscal year, whichever is greater.