Maryland Counties Narrowly Avoid Mandatory Education Funding Increase

escalatorBased on the recently released draft calculations from the Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland counties will avoid a mandate that requires county governments to increase funding for education under a provision of the State’s “maintenance of effort” law.  However, the mandate remains in effect and could require increases next year.

Nine counties could have been subject to a mandatory increase this year based on their education effort, which is a calculation of how much funding a county provides towards education and the State’s estimate of a county’s local tax capacity.  Even counties with high levels of education spending can be caught by the State’s education effort calculation.  In fact, the county with the highest per pupil spending in education in Maryland, Worcester County, could be trapped in the escalator provision requiring additional spending in education.

Increases were avoided this year because per pupil wealth statewide was in a slight decline compared to last year, -0.2%, based on preliminary numbers.  If wealth per pupil is increasing next year, counties may be required to increase their education funding by up to 2.5%.

For more information, see our previous posts: Q&A: Maryland’s Education Funding Escalator and MOE “Escalator” Could Affect 9 Counties in FY16, and reference the complete draft calculations from the Maryland State Department of Education.