Kirwan Follow-Up Bill Moving, With County Capacity Study

HB 1372, legislation adjusting and remedying a variety of components of the recently enacted Blueprint for Maryland’s Future school funding plan, has passed the House, with a new section calling for a study of county “capacity” to afford its provisions.

HB 1372 – Blueprint for Maryland’s Future – Revisions was a late-filed bill designed to adjust multiple provisions in the much-heralded school funding proposal, HB 1300 from 2020. Because that bill was vetoed and then enacted through a legislative override, its provisions were not in effect for the FY 2022 budget. Thus, HB 1372 makes a variety of adjustments to the multi-year plan to accommodate that delay, respond to the aberrant enrollment count from September 2020, and make other adjustments to the bill.

A rigorous explanation of the bill is in its Fiscal and Policy Note, developed by the Department of Legislative Services.

The bill was amended in the House, but two major provisions of direct interest to counties remain intact: the delay of FY 2022 funding requirements that would have obligated multiple jurisdictions to higher spending levels for the coming year; and an adjustment to the calculation of “maintenance of effort” requirements for FY 2023 to avoid effects from this year’s depleted enrollment counts.

One new provision in the bill is a study, included by amendment as a new Section 6 on page 38 of the Third Reader bill:

As of this writing, the Senate committees addressing the bill are working from the bill passed by the House, and contemplating additional amendments or adjustments. Stay tuned to Conduit Street for continuing coverage, as counties develop their own budget plans for FY 2022 and beyond.

Edit: On Thursday March 25, the Senate adopted a series of amendments to HB 1372, including multiple changes to the Maintenance of Effort calculation. The Senate amendments are available online following the second reader vote. The bill will require one final (third reader) vote on the Senate floor, and then a concurrence from the House to pass and move on to the Governor.

The apparent effect of the Senate amendments on county funding requirements are to:

  • clarify that the September 2020 enrollment count is excluded from all “per pupil” calculations
  • specify that the “escalator” provisions for counties in FY22 and FY23 are based on September 2019 enrollment count
  • clarify that counties may use federal funds to satisfy their required funding commitments:

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties