With a May 2 deadline for follow-up actions from counties seeking waivers from the state’s Maintenance of Effort funding laws, MACo believes that 5 out of 6 counties filing initial waiver requests have since withdrawn those pursuits. Wicomico County is the only county with a remaining waiver request before the State Board of Education. Anne Arundel, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties had all initially requested waivers by the April 1 deadline.
As the State Board provides updates of county filings, they should become available at this site:
State Board of Education – 2012 Maintenance of Effort
(As of Tuesday May 3, no information had yet been provided on the State Board’s website)
MACo has, for the last two legislative sessions, adopted reform of the MOE waiver process as one of its legislative initiatives. From MACo’s 2011 testimony on HB 44:
No single action will patch the inequities of the current MOE waiver process. Instead, a series of actions are needed. MACo believes HB 44 will mold the waiver process closer than what was originally envisioned by the General Assembly – an option to provide counties with needed, but equitable, relief in difficult economic times. An additional component to delay the effect of withheld funding would add to the sensible adjustments proposed by the bill.
With the comprehensive “process reforms” MACo had supported failing in both years, it now appears that the General Assembly has elected to leave the waiver system in place. Counties facing funding shortfalls are faced with a waiver process that imposes difficult timing as well as troubling multi-year effects. Given this uncertainty about the State Board’s deliberations, a number of counties elected to withdraw from the waiver process for the coming year’s budget.