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State Board of Education: County Did Not Meet MOE Requirements

County Executive John R. Leopold said he and the County Council will now have to find a way to fund an additional $12 million for the school system.

UPDATE (6:50 p.m.)—The Maryland State Board of Education weighed in on Superintendent Kevin Maxwell's that Anne Arundel County government violated state law in underfunding students with last year's budget.

The Maintenance of Effort is the minimum sum of money per student allotted by the county in order to keep school funding stable, and was the primary point of contention by Maxwell after County Executive John R. Leopold released his budget recommendations for fiscal year 2013 last week.

Maxwell claimed that the executive “” by using debt service to calculate the MOE numbers for fiscal year 2012 and then used them as a launch point for next year’s budget. In doing so, Maxwell said Leopold shorted the school system $12 million for fiscal year 2013.

New legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly states the following if a county does not fund the full MOE amount: “The state will intercept the county’s local income tax revenues in the amount by which the county is below MOE and forward funds to the local school board.”

Due to the harsh punishment of failing to meet the MOE requirements, Maxwell said he didn't have "any doubts" that the County Council will meet the MOE funding for fiscal year 2013. 

Leopold stood by his claim that the Maryland Attorney General told him the use of debt service was permissible for fiscal year 2012, but told Patch that the state board of education’s decision will force him to fund the $12 million.

“I intend to have a collaborative conversation with the County Council on how to best handle this decision,” Leopold said. “We will have to find a way to provide the money. There’s no question.”

The county executive said the decision not only takes money out of the county budget, but also inhibits upon he and his colleagues’ ability to lead.

“In my tenure over the last six years, the Board of Education budget has increased 17 percent while all other government agencies have decreased by 7 percent,” Leopold said. “The mandates from the state are crowding our ability to fund other essential services.”

In a release by AACPS, Maxwell said he’s confident the County Council will “do the right thing,” and that the MOE issue isn’t about political personalities but about money students are legally entitled to.

Leopold claimed that the school system wants to use the $12 million for salary increases, but AACPS spokesman Bob Mosier said the superintendent hasn’t had enough time to consider what the additional funding may go toward. Mosier also said Maxwell won’t make plans for the money before he knows exactly what the budget entails after the County Council releases its final recommendations at the end of May.

Prior to the state board of education’s decision, Leopold already recommended the addition of 62 new teaching positions throughout the county, with the funds coming from money saved by the school system over the years. Mosier said he couldn’t say if the $12 million might go towards funding those positions.

Maxwell told Patch the $12 million wasn't enough to fund the agreements with the bargaining units for teacher raises and that there were many areas where the money could help.

"There's a lot of needs that we have and we haven't really decided how we could use the money," Maxwell said. 

The Anne Arundel County Council will now work with Leopold to determine where the additional $12 million will come from to fund MOE for fiscal year 2013.

“There has to be a way to provide the money, but we’re going to have to find the best way to do that,” Leopold said.

A public hearing for the county general and school system budgets will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9, at Arundel Center, 44 Calvert St. in Annapolis. Signups begin at 6 p.m.

Another hearing will be held on Monday, May 14, at 7 p.m. at Old Mill High School, 600 Patriot Ln. in Millersville.

Maryellen Brady April 28, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Sounds right to me. The republican controlled CC and Leopold got rid of the BINDING ARBITRATION aspect of the CHARTER to denigrate teachers and to back up their broken ideological concepts of balance between protecting "common good" assets and taxation. We have to invest in education K thru 12. That means we recruit the best classroom teachers and pay them a living wage for AA county. A Master's Degree which is a norm for teachers and administrators demands higher wages. The TPARTY crowd would have our state look like MI, where there is TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION on AM soil, and look like WI where children are suffering from drastic education cuts to give rich guys tax cuts and in FL where Super thief in CHIEF Gov Rick Scott is cutting programs to feed children. He alos supported eliminating a SCIENCE AND TECH dept in a state unviversity while increasing the athletice dept budget by $ 2mn is outrageous. Support the TPARTY ideologies: Unfair taxation, starve children, denigrate workers and destroy women's rights to health care decisions. And most of all support TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION on AM soil. That is the real irony, the group that claims to b descendents of TPARTY patriots are really just sheep in wolves' clothing.
Informed April 28, 2012 at 11:57 PM
A close look at the budget shows the number of art positions went from 2.5 to 3.5. This more accurately explains the increase in budget. They didn't give huge raises, they hired an additional employee. How carefully did you actually read the budget?
Amy Leahy April 29, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Maryellen: first binding arbitration is not and never has been part of the Anne Arundel County Charter. And Master's degrees is a requirement put on our teachers by the administration. I would ask you what is it about a higher education degree that makes a better teacher? It simply means we must pay them more money because they have spent more time in school. Now lets talk about the TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION you so boldly accused the TPARTY crowd of promoting. How about the fact that Maryland is a one-party state which means that a vast number of citizens who are not in favor of being TAXED OUT THE REAR END are not being represented. And the children are not the ones suffering in Wisconsin….it's the unions who are suffering because they are not, for once, getting their way. Additionally I dare you to prove that Republicans starve children. Last I knew, many Republicans and TPARTY crowd actually have children of our own and do a pretty darned good job of feeding, clothing and educating them. We actually LIKE kids. How DARE you accuse TPARTY supporters (and of course by inference, Republicans) of unfair taxation, starving children, denigrating workers and destroying women's health care rights and being sheep???? Are you kidding me?
Amy Leahy April 29, 2012 at 12:51 AM
It is the party of entitlements that is destroying this country. After 6 decades of food stamps, unemployment insurance & welfare, all we've done is create a society that expects to be taken care of. Who pays for all this? Heaven forbid it should be those nasty RICH people. Let's just all be on the public dole and see whose going to pay. If I sound just a little over the top….well maybe I've just had enough of being accused of nasty evilness just because some socialist thinks we need to become like Europe. This country was not built on communist ideologies…it was built by people who cherished freedom and opportunity more than anything. There are too many people just like you, Maryellen Brady who would take that opportunity away from people by telling them they cannot overcome adversity. You keep people in their place rather than encourage the human spirit that would help them soar above.
TM April 30, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I'm starting to wonder if the elections aren't fixed anymore. This general tone indicates virtually no one here voted for Owemalley or Hoyer et al yet they all won by landslides.

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