The Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) published its most recent legislative update. This update includes a review of the 2014 elections, stating,
The 2014 general election results are in, and the outcomes certainly warrant the attention and education and advocacy efforts of MABE and local boards. The roster of election results finds the return of many familiar faces, especially in the Senate Education Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, in which MABE spends considerable time lobbying on education policy-related bills. . .Returning legislators include Ways and Means Committee Chair, Sheila Hixson, and Education Subcommittee Chair, Anne Kaiser; Senate Education Committee Chair Joan Carter Conway, and almost every other member of the Education Committee. A notable exception to the lack of turnover on these key committees was the loss of Senate Education Committee Vice Chair. . .Roy Dyson.
As described in the update, the Maryland State Constitution requires the General Assembly to “establish a thorough and efficient system of free public schools” and to “provide by taxation or otherwise for their maintenance.” With regard to this year’s budget, the update states,
Significant education funding issues on the horizon for the 2015 session include the extent to which the Governor’s proposed budget not only funds the mandated programs, which represent the bulk of the total $5.5 billion, but also the notable exceptions of the non-mandated funding programs, including the $135 million slated for GCEI [Geographic Cost of Education Index], and the more than $35 million slated for NTI [net taxable income] grants. In addition to the Budget Bill, the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) is the vehicle for the legislative amendments needed to amend future funding requirements, even to mandated funding programs. Another issue will be the funding of the mandated inflation factor, which is the lesser of 5% or the implicit price deflator or consumer price index for the second prior year. In FY 2015, the inflation factor was only 0.46%, but still resulted in a mandated increase in the foundation per pupil amount.