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2013 Legislative Platform
Investing in our Children’s Future
THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION believes that today’s investments in the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) are crucial to a prosperous economy, strong business growth, and students’ ability to compete for good jobs in the global, high-tech economy. School systems must be adequately funded to prepare our youth to support future economic health. We urge you and the entire General Assembly to remain vigilant against the potential negative impacts of unfunded mandates, including significant additional workload burdens with no accompanying source of revenue. We look forward to a successful 2013 legislative season in which children’s welfare continues to be paramount.
Maintenance of Effort
The Passage of the Bridge to Excellence in Public Education Act of 2002 (BTE) resulted in a dramatic change to education funding in Maryland. Even during challenging fiscal times, the General Assembly has held the line on education funding evidenced by having annually provided $5.7 billion in education aid since 2008. Maryland’s Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirement, in place since 1984, requires school systems receive, at a minimum, the same per-pupil local funding in a subsequent year as was received in a current year. This provision, along with the BTE funding paradigm, provides assurance that the goals of adequacy, equity, and excellence are met.
We are grateful that the 2012 General Assembly both clarified and strengthened Maryland’s longstanding MOE law. Those actions now make clear that MOE is the required funding floor for all local jurisdictions, rather than the funding amount required to receive any increase in state education aid. Furthermore, the enacted law is the hallmark of good governance, providing flexibility and transparency. The historical legacy of support for quality education for Montgomery County Public Schools is greatly appreciated and we pledge to continuing to work cooperatively with our county partners.
Common Core State Standards
Governor Martin O’Malley and former State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick committed Maryland to the Common Core State Standards. This initiative provides a clear understanding and expectation of what each student should learn and master. The initiative develops a set of standards that are common across states with a resulting curriculum continuing to be a local responsibility (or state-led, where appropriate). As these standards are being implemented across Maryland and within our school district, we must ensure that this is not an unfunded mandate and that resources are available to bring to fruition the goals and objectives of these standards.
Long-range Planning and Capacity Issues
MCPS continues to experience a burgeoning increase in enrollment and diversity along racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines. At the same time, we are challenged by limited capacity in school facilities. The projections over the next several years call for significant expenditures in the capital and operating budgets to accommodate these student enrollment increases. State construction dollars are critical and we urge allocation be proportional to our share of statewide student enrollment. Over the years, MCPS has sought to balance the fiscal difficulties facing the county with the need to address our overcrowded schools and aging facilities and infrastructure. We are committed to working with our local county government and our local state delegation to address our tremendous needs in the most responsible way possible, while continuing to provide our students with an adequate learning environment.