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Saturday, January 30, 2010

$23.4 Million MOE Fine

On January 29, the State Board of Education upheld the State Superintendent's decision that Montgomery County did not meet Maintenance of Effort for FY 2009-2010 (this current school year). The State Board has thus fined Montgomery County $23,422,297 for the upcoming year. As you'll recall, the Montgomery County Government tried to shift debt onto the MCPS Budget and say that it was fulfilling its duty of funding the MCPS Budget.

Shortly after, the County Executive and County Council President issued this statement:

“We are disappointed in the State Board’s decision to withhold $23.4 million of State education aid from Montgomery County’s schools over the Maintenance of Effort issue.

“From the start, Montgomery County and the Montgomery County Public Schools have, together, pointed to the County’s long history of funding our schools far in excess of State Maintenance of Effort requirements. Together, we presented a waiver request for this one year that both fully funded MCPS’s educational program and preserved other critically needed services for County residents. We emphasized the challenges posed by the sharp economic downturn as a clear justification for a waiver.

“Last May the State Board of Education rejected that waiver request. Now, eight months later, today’s decision would severely impact our County’s schools.

“We will continue to work with the Governor and members of the General Assembly to right this wrong.”

What does this mean? It means that $23.4 Million in cuts will have to be made in the current school year because we simply will not be receiving the money. These will be on top of the $32 Million in cuts already asked for by the County Executive and the County Council. Hopefully, the Montgomery County Delegation will be able to pass the legislative fix to this penalty so that we do not have to see further reductions.

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