Responding to an Anne Arundel County appeal of a previous administrative decision that the county’s FY 2012 budget failed to meet the state’s “maintenance of effort” funding target, the State Board of Education this week released its decision, affirming the previous decision. AT issue was the use of debt service in the school budget, a practice speficially addressed in a recent letter from the state Attorney General. From coverage in the Edgewater-Davidson Patch website:
Leopold stood by his claim that the Maryland Attorney General told him the use of debt service was permissible for fiscal year 2012, but told Patch that the state board of education’s decision will force him to fund the $12 million.
“I intend to have a collaborative conversation with the County Council on how to best handle this decision,” Leopold said. “We will have to find a way to provide the money. There’s no question.”
The county executive said the decision not only takes money out of the county budget, but also inhibits upon he and his colleagues’ ability to lead.
“In my tenure over the last six years, the Board of Education budget has increased 17 percent while all other government agencies have decreased by 7 percent,” Leopold said. “The mandates from the state are crowding our ability to fund other essential services.”
The State Board of Education has made some documents relevant to this decision available online here, though the final Board communication has yet to be posted as of this writing.