On February 6, three leaders from MACo joined a Board meeting of the Maryland State Education Association, the Maryland chapter of the National Education Association, which represents some 71,000 employees in the public schools across the state. MACo First Vice President John Barr, MACo Second Vice president Tari Moore, and Executive Director Michael Sanderson joined the MSEA Board for a productive and candid conversation about issues in education and school budgets, as well as other topics of mutual interest.
MACo discussed its series of legislative initiatives, with Commissioner Barr speaking about the devastating loss of Highway User Revenues and its profound impact on every component of county budgets. County Executive Moore spoke about the heroin epidemic, and about efforts both Cecil County has made and that MACo is seeking to help target those issues. In each case, these broad issues connected easily back to schools.
MSEA inquired about counties’ continued interest in school funding laws, especially the “maintenance of effort” provision guaranteeing county funding must be maintained year-to-year. Participants recounted recent history and shared views on the effects of the current laws. Mr. Sanderson spoke to the “nonrecurring costs” law, nominally intended to enable voluntary spending over the MOE requirement, but expressed frustration with its inconsistency, poor timing, and unpredictability. He indicated legislation would be introduced this session to target specific elements of these school funding laws, which triggered some extended conversation between the two groups.
MSEA President Betty Weller thanked the MACo representatives for the conversation, and closed with her wishes “that this isn’t the first and only time we do something like this,” and met with round agreement from the MACo officers.