The State Board of Education published its two opinions granting waivers from the FY 2011 Maintenance of Effort requirements to Montgomery County and Wicomico County. Calls by the State Board of Education for reform of the current maintenance of effort statute are evident in the opinions.
The preface of both opinions includes the following statement by the Board of Education:
We see on the horizon increased downward pressure on local governments’ budgets. State funding will likely decrease; counties may be asked to fund a larger share of local teacher pension costs; federal stimulus funding will likely cease. We anticipate that the downward budget pressure will force counties to shift their budget burdens to the schools and will seek to reduce school budgets further. As these pressures build, a legislative solution that fashions a statewide approach will become necessary.
The State Board of Education cited two primary reasons for granting Montgomery County’s waiver; 1) the loss of the $4.6 billion in the county tax base that created a unique financial impediment to funding its required maintenance of effort level, and 2) flaws in the current MOE statute that would substantially penalize the county’s public school system.
For Wicomico’s waiver, the State Board of Education reiterated the flaws in the current statute that would substantially penalize the school system.
For complete information on the FY 2011 Maintenance of Effort requests and opinions, click here.