Montgomery County Withdraws MOE Waiver Request

In a statement released today, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Council President Valerie Ervin have jointly withdrawn the county’s request for a waiver from the state’s “maintenance of effort” requirements. The County, along with five others (Anne Arundel, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, and Wicomico) had filed a notice by April 1 of their intention to seek a waiver, though the State Board of Education had enabled a process for counties to withdraw their requests prior to their full consideration in May.

The essential elements of the County’s release on the subject are below:

The Montgomery County Council unanimously decided this week not to apply for a waiver from the State Maintenance of Effort (MOE) funding level for FY12. We take this step so that we can create a stable, sustainable future for our schools and all County agencies.

Our commitment to the County’s world-class school system is unwavering. The budget we expect to pass for the school system in FY12 will increase from last year’s amount, while the budgets of many County departments will decrease. Our goal is to protect classroom instruction while ensuring that scarce resources are available for all of our critical priorities – including safety net human services, public safety, and other vital parts of County government.

Our County has sought to reform the State Maintenance of Effort law to provide some modest flexibility in times of great fiscal crisis, particularly for counties like ours that have significantly exceeded maintenance of effort requirements over the last decade. These legislative changes were not adopted, and therefore we take this step to achieve an equitable and sustainable future for our community.

Procedural information about this year’s waiver filings is available from the State Board of Education’s website.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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