Teachers say local school districts could lose $2.6 billion in funds
The Maryland State Education Association is warning in a report released today that $2.6 billion could be cut from local school system budgets if a state law is not repaired.
The state's Thornton law ensured that local county governments could not reduce funding as the state ratcheted up its funding from 2002 on. The law said local governments had to "maintain their effort." But the law has been eroded over the years, and a number of school systems have reduced aid to education without seeking waivers.
The MSEA says about half of the local money is at risk, although the assumption is that no county would meet its commitment to continue the same level of funding. That isn't likely to happen in the Baltimore area. Only Anne Arundel County has reduced its MOE, and this year, Baltimore City and Baltimore County are not likely to reduce funds to education. Donald Mohler, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz's chief of staff, said Kamenetz is "committed to fund BCPS at the maintenance of effort level" for the next fiscal year beginning in July.
But in Anne Arundel County, the report says, teachers will not get a raise this year. In addition, the county has not increased its teaching positions in the past several years, although enrollment grew by 2,000.
The next question is whether the Maryland General Assembly will restore any of the teeth in the law in the next session.