“Almost Midnight” For MACo’s Initiative HB 1145?

One of MACo’s top priority bills for the 2014 legislative session appears stuck in its House committee, with time running out as the session progresses.

HB 1145 was introduced to improve the state laws governing “nonrecurring costs” in a school board budget – making three changes:

  1. develop a set of guidelines on one-time funding items that could receive direct administrative approval from MSDE
  2. extend the deadline to apply until June 1 – so counties can see their budget picture before formalizing their plans
  3. authorize only joint applications from the county and its school board to use the extended timeframe

Read MACo’s fuller explanation of the bill at this previous blog item:  “Bill Could Fix ‘One Time’ Funding For School Budgets”

HB 1145 was heard on March 6, but has not yet received any vote or discussion in the House Ways and Means Committee.  The “crossover” deadline for house bills to reach the Senate without additional procedural hurdles was earlier this week, and the lack of movement is troubling.  Ways and Means Education Subcommittee Chair Anne Kaiser is, however, the lead sponsor of the bill.

Following conversation during the bill’s hearing, MACo developed two amendments, designed to clarify and improve its effect – the first to clearly specify that the nonrecurring costs under the bill are only for counties exceeding the required maintenance of effort funding levels, and second to request that a summary of prior approved/rejected nonrecurring costs be prepared each year by MSDE.

MACo will continue to advocate that the bill be taken up by the Education Subcommittee for discussion.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties