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Statement Regarding State Board of Education Ruling on Maintenance of Effort
Board of Education President Christopher S. Barclay made the following statement on the State Board of Education's divided ruling regarding Maintenance of Effort:
“This ruling puts local education funding in the state of Maryland in serious jeopardy. How can the Maryland State Board of Education say that Maintenance of Effort (MOE) funding for schools is required but provide no remedy for students to be able to enforce it? The decision highlights the perversity of a law that allows the county to avoid their legal obligation, avoid the need for a waiver and but then imposes a $26 million penalty on the children as a direct reduction to the education budget.
“We do not believe that it was the intent of the legislature for maintenance of effort funding to be optional. This ruling calls into question the commitments made by the Thornton law and its funding requirements for public education that have made Maryland #1 in education. The children of Montgomery County and Maryland have been stripped of a bedrock protection through this narrow reading of the MOE law.
“In Montgomery County alone, we are seeing what happens when a local government fails to meet its legal obligation. Over the last four years, the county has failed to meet its maintenance of effort by $345 million. In addition, the County has taken $144 million out of $160 million in state education aid increases and used it for non-educational purposes.” We agree with the dissent that this neither good education policy, nor good public policy.
“While we certainly have been working closely with the Council in light of the poor economic conditions of the past few years, we are fearful that these continued and sustained cuts to education resulting from what the State Board calls manipulation of the law will have serious negative consequences for our children in the very near future.
We need to turn our attention to the General Assembly now to clear up the ambiguities of the law so that the children of Maryland are not penalized and can receive the best possible education in every county.”
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