The House Ways and Means Committee has scheduled a meeting for tomorrow to review and vote on HB 373, legislation to increase the age through which children are required to attend public schools.
MACo has opposed the bill, chiefly citing fiscal concerns. From the bill’s own fiscal note, the additional state costs to supply the per pupil funding to extra students remaining enrolled would be well into the tens of millions annually. While the official fiscal note does not speak to this effect, counties would also be required to supply a fairly equivalent amount of funding – likely in the $30-50 million range, to satisfy state per pupil funding obligations.
Subcommittee Chair Delegate Anne Kaiser indicated that the bill was to be amended (possibly to delay its effective date, and to alter administrative measures in the bill), and that the Subcommittee would be reviewing a number of options – but the attention to the bill portends its passage as soon as tomorrow. With comparable legislation already passed by the Senate, it appears likely that this new costly initiative will become law in some form.