Board of Public Works Approves Education Adequacy Study Contract

The Board of Public Works voted today to approve the contract for an education funding adequacy study.

Comptroller Franchot raised concerns regarding the award of a $1 million contract to an out-of-state organization, and asked if the work could be performed in-house, by the Maryland State Department of Education. He said that his department produces many studies in-house.

Treasurer Kopp noted that the law indicated the study would be performed by a public or private organization.  Section 7 of the The Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002 states:

That, within the next 10 years, and no later than June 30, 2012, the Maryland State Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Legislative Services, shall contract with a public or private entity to conduct a study of the adequacy of education funding in the State. At a minimum, the adequacy study shall: (1) identify a base funding level for students without special needs; (2) per pupil weights for students with special needs to be applied to the base funding level; and (3) an analysis of the effect of concentrations of poverty on adequacy targets.

The law was later amended to require the study to be conducted in two phases, beginning June 30, 2014, and concluding by December 1, 2016.

Kristy Michel, Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Finance of the Maryland State Department of Education said that there is a high level of expertise required in performing the contract and noted that the contractor plans to work closely with her and her staff, and with county boards of education and teachers.  She also said that the contractor will be partnering with the University of Maryland to complete some parts of the contract.

After the discussion ended, Governor O’Malley moved the item, and the Treasurer seconded.  When votes were taken the Comptroller voted nay, but the motion passed.

For more information, see our previous post, State Reviews $1M Contract for Next Education Funding Study.