House Hearing on School Funding and MOE Raises More Questions

At Friday’s briefing on K-12 funding and maintenance of effort, the Department of Legislative Services again presented information on the history and current complications with school funding laws.  From coverage in the Maryland Reporter:

Since the recession began in fiscal year 2010, counties have struggled to meet their maintenance of effort standards. Collins said the state has a set minimum per pupil amount that each county must fund, and that has been consistently met. There has been more of a struggle to keep up with the additional money that counties could more easily provide before the economy got worse.

Maintenance of effort works well to fund schools in good economic times, Hise said. In bad economic times, however, counties have significant problems with it. Counties can apply for waivers if they think they will fall short of maintenance of effort goals, but none of the counties this year have applied for them. Hise said that penalties for not meeting the goals have been cut, and four of the counties falling short this year have no penalty.

Changes to the maintenance of effort formula to make it work better in tough economic times have been drafted, considered and discussed in the General Assembly in past years, but have never become law. As of Friday, no bills on maintenance of effort have been proposed during this session.

(Mr. Collins and Ms. Hise are both staff analysts for the Department of Legislative Services)

The document used for the presentation was substantially similar to that used for a comparable presentation to the Senate in July, available online here. Once the revised presentation document is available, MACo will post a link to that on the Conduit Street blog as well.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties

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