9 Counties Swept Up In Education Funding Escalator

A provision of state law requiring counties that fall behind statewide averages for education effort to increase their K-12 budgets forces many jurisdictions to update their funding in fiscal year 2018. 

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Chart from the Maryland State Department of Education State Aid Calculations.

In 2012, the General Assembly approved a law that creates the potential for automatic increases in maintenance of effort amounts. The law is often referred to as “The Escalator.”

The increases are not based on funding needs. Instead, they are based on county wealth, according to a formula devised by the State government. The formula describes “effort” as a county’s education funding as a percentage of its wealth.

The escalator clause provides that if the County’s “effort” in the given year is less than the statewide average for the previous 5-year period, the County may have to provide additional funding. The additional amount is equal to the lesser of the County increase in per pupil wealth, the State average increase in per pupil wealth, or 2.5%.

In fiscal year 2018, Allegany, Garrett, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico, Worcester counties, and Baltimore City were swept into the escalator and required to increase their education funding in their annual appropriation to their school board.

For more information, see the State Aid Calculations from the Maryland State Department of Education.

At MACo’s Winter Conference, county officials will participate in a round-table discussion on education funding debates.

Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference: