In an article from today’s Washington Post, the paper looks past the headline-grabbing items like tax increases and shifting teacher pensions, and addresses the massive policy change carried by the Senate’s bill on school funding maintenance of effort. From the Post report:
Following a directive set out by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to protect school funding, the spending plan would consolidate power in the hands of the state’s chief executive and legislature.
The state would assume authority to seize county tax revenue and to hand it directly to school boards to ensure that counties maintain what are among the nation’s highest levels of per-pupil spending.
To prevent such an outcome, the legislature would first authorize county leaders to raise more tax revenue from businesses and to even toss out local, voter-approved tax caps.
Later in the article, some context on the state intrusion:
“This is a fundamental usurpation of local government’s most basic function, which is to balance the needs of all the services that it provides,” said Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda). “If you go too far, you create a context in which the school system is now at war with every other part of local government.”