At Wednesday’s hearing on HB 44 before the House Ways and Means Committee, a county panel reprised its support for the legislation to reform the maintenance of effort waiver process. The group offered testimony similar to that from the Senate hearing a week earlier. Committee members asked a series of questions, many dealing with counties’ willingness to exceed the maintenance of effort funding levels during “good times” prior to the recent economic downturn, and the effect of that decision on current MOE struggles.
The MACo panel again included:
Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County Executive
Valerie Ervin, Montgomery County Council President
Rick Pollitt, Wicomico County Executive
Michael Sanderson, MACo Executive Director
In addition to the education stakeholders, the House hearing included a presentation from a number of public sector (but not education) employee representative groups. Among the organizations speaking to the Ways and Means Committee in support of the waiver reform were the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994, and International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1664. Each representative expressed concerns about how inflexible requirements for education funding have a dramatic effect on other important public services, especially during times of declining local government budgets.