County Executive Leopold and Chairman Reilly Call for School Funding Waiver
Move would allow budget flexibility in uncertain economic climate
Annapolis (April 1, 2009) - County Executive John R. Leopold and County Council Chairman Ed Reilly today joined in a request to the State Board of Education to grant Anne Arundel County a waiver of the "Maintenance of Effort" funding requirement due to continuing declines in revenue collections.
"The request assures that the County Executive and the County Council will have maximum flexibility in the preparation and consideration of the County’s FY10 budget," County Executive Leopold said. "This will be critical in our response to the final budget actions of the General Assembly later this month, as well as any continuing decline in County revenue collections or revenue projections. All County departments are making significant reductions. This Administration intends to keep its promise not to raise taxes on property or income."
Maintenance of Effort is a State statutory requirement that calls for designated education funding levels. The requirement would mean that Anne Arundel County has to spend about $553 million in the operational budget for Anne Arundel County Schools in FY10. The County faces an overall $150 million shortfall that demands cutting the school system’s budget to $544 million in addition to reductions in other departments.
"I share County Executive Leopold’s belief that everyone should share the budgetary pain," Chairman Reilly said. "We have many hard choices to make and an obligation to cut government spending in order to pass a balanced budget."
The recommended budget in May will contain an increase of $13 million for school construction, which amounts to a 41 percent increase in spending over the past three years. The increase will be paid for by relying more on bonds than cash, because the County Executive and the County Council increased impact fees to raise the County’s debt capacity.