MACo Supports Independent Financial Analysis of Education Funding Waivers

On February 26, Robin Clark, MACo’s Policy Analyst, testified to the House Ways and Means Committee in support of HB502, State Department of Education – Financial Advisory Board – Establishment. This bill would create a Financial Advisory Board to review and analyze a county board’s application for a maintenance of effort funding waiver based on local fiscal conditions. The maintenance of effort law mandates that a county provide the same amount of funding per pupil towards education each year. There are limited opportunities for a county to apply for a one-year waiver from the mandate, one of these is a waiver based on local fiscal conditions significantly impeding the county’s ability to meet the level of funding required.

The Financial Advisory Board would provide the State Superintendent with advice on six factors relating to a county’s fiscal condition for her preliminary assessment of a county’s waiver application. The Financial Advisory Board would also prepare a plain English analysis of the waiver application for the public.

The written testimony explains:

This bill properly provides a financial analysis where appropriate and selects a suitable body to produce that analysis. At the same time, the legislation preserves the ultimate authority of the State Board over the grant of the waiver.

For more on MACo’s 2015 legislation, visit the Legislative Database.

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