Allegany County Public Schools officials received good news recently when the Maryland legislature revised its educational funding formula, resulting in an increase of $793,472 for the local school system for the 2017-2018 school year.
According to The Cumberland Times-News,
The funding was discussed Tuesday at the regular meeting of the Allegany County Board of Education at the central office on Washington Street.
The school board had developed a $111.8 million budget for fiscal 2018. The state had been expected to contribute roughly $78.7 million for fiscal 2018 and the county approximately $30.2 million. The increase from the state will bring its total funding to $79.6 million.
The increase in state dollars is a result of considerations given by analysts studying the funding formula of Maryland’s school districts.
The state created the Kirwan Commission in the summer of 2016 to study the funding mechanisms for school districts. The commission is continuing its work and is expected to issue a final report later this year or in early 2018.
“(The increase) recognizes a flaw in the funding formula … that is being talked about … and hopefully will be ameliorated with the work of the Kirwan Commission,” said Cox.
Allegany County has a net loss of 102 students for fiscal 2018. With funding based largely on enrollment numbers, school systems that saw a decline in enrollment one year suffered with fewer funding dollars.
Larry McKenzie, chief financial officer for the school system, said the state decided to look at enrollment over a three-year period instead of one year.
“They went back and looked at three years and took an average of that,” said McKenzie.
“To be honest, it was a surprise to me. The way the formula is, it worked out there were instances that, although we had overall declining enrollment, some of the areas within the formula we received increases … for instance, our special education population increased. So, within the formula itself, there were some changes.”
MACo successfully supported passage HB 684 / SB 1024 – Education – State Grants for Education Aid, legislation that will provide $28.2 million in additional funding for K-12 public schools in Allegany ($793,472), Calvert ($240,000), Carroll ($1.6 million), Cecil ($190,000), Garrett ($456,000), Harford ($356,000), Kent ($215,000), Queen Anne’s ($22,000), Somerset ($455,000), and Talbot ($133,000) Counties, and Baltimore City ($23.7 million).