Consensus Budget Helps Offset Declining School Enrollment

The State budget seeks to help school systems that will see drops in student numbers this year.

In Maryland, nearly all state education funding is distributed on a per-pupil basis, meaning that the more students a school system serves, the more funding it receives.

By contrast, when the number of students declines, schools can experience a sudden drop in funding. School systems often strive to offer equivalent courses and programs, even with fewer students. This dynamic can strain local budgets.

That strain is compounded when a decline in enrollment flows through wealth formulas – and as a county’s overall tax base is divided by fewer students (for a per-pupil wealth calculation), the jurisdiction effect is compounded: fewer students being funded, and a reduction in state aid per student based on the perceived wealth increase.

While legislation introduced to provide additional grant funding to counties with declining enrollment was not moved this year, there is funding for a few counties experiencing declining enrollment in the budget as approved by both the Senate and House.

As introduced, the Governor’s budget included this extra funding for three counties, Carroll, Kent and Garrett. Then, the Governor’s supplemental budget No. 3 added additional funding for Calvert County and Baltimore City. These grants are provided to help offset the effect of decreases in state funding due to declining enrollment.

Here are the amounts of the grants from the Governor’s Budget Highlights and the Governor’s Press Release on his Supplemental Budget No. 3:

  • $12.7 million for Baltimore City
  • $1.1 million for Calvert County
  • $4.0 million is for Carroll County
  • $1.3 million for Garrett County
  • $0.3 million for Kent County

The Senate and House of Delegates have now passed the budget – and while a conference committee remains to resolve areas of difference, this has not been raised as a topic. For more information, see the budget information page.