Maintenance of Effort (MOE) is a state law designed to protect the quality of our children’s education by discouraging local governments from shortchanging our schools and students. Recently, weaknesses in how the law was written have been abused and nearly seven of Maryland’s counties have slashed per-pupil funding—some by nearly 30%. Our own County Executive has been one of the primary offenders. By revising his budget for fiscal years 2011 and 2012 to include tens of millions of dollars of debt service into the MOE calculation he cheated the MOE law by including monies that the school system never actually received and could not spend. By doing so, the county failed to meet maintenance of effort and the penalty under the current law (incredibly) falls to the school system and not to the county. That penalty (about $3.8 million) is included in the Board’s fiscal year 2013 budget request.
House Bill 1412 (HB1412) has been introduced in the legislature. It fixes flaws in the current law. If passed in its current form it will obstruct the circumventions of the law such as Mr. Leopold and others have attempted. It will provide:
- Predictability and consistency of funding.
- A mandatory waiver process if a county ever funds below MOE.
- Authority to override artificial revenue caps.
- Explicit prohibition against the inclusion of debt service.
- A fixed penalty to ensure that school systems are made whole to MOE levels if a county falls short and fails to receive a waiver.
Our schools need the comprehensive MOE fix that HB1412 provides. Contact your elected officials today and ask them to support HB1412. The simplest way to do so is the click the following link: CLICK HERE.
The most effective emails contain personal stories. Tell elected officials how school funding cuts have affected your school and students, and how further cuts from not fixing MOE would affect the quality of our children’s education.
EFFORT TO MODIFY THE REVENUE CAP
Directly suppressing school funding is Anne Arundel’s 18 year old revenue cap under which all public services including education suffer. Other organizations are joining in the effort to modify it. On February 22, the Executive Committee of the Association of Educational Leaders voted unanimously in support and signed petitions have already begun coming in. On February 27, by wide margin, the general membership of the Secretaries and Assistants Association of Anne Arundel County contributed its support. Tomorrow, March 3rd, Local 1693 of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees will hold its vote. Presuming they vote similarly to TAAAC, AEL, and SAAAAC, we will be going to the Board of Education at its March 7th meeting with a unified employee voice, “…our schools need this….”
To help the cause, please do what you can to get signatures on our petition. Petitions can be obtained from your TAAAC representative or downloaded here. If you do nothing else, please sign a petition circulated by a colleague.
We are looking for feedback, positive or negative, from members who moved from the Preferred Provider Network (PPN) to the Triple Option Plan (TOP). Please drop a brief email to BJones@mseanea.org to comment on recent service.
Calls have come in from a few schools criticizing the fact that teachers having to pay for their own lunches at the Arlington Echo events. Please keep in mind that in most cases those day-trips are contrary to the collective bargaining agreement in two ways. They illegally extend your work week (unless special arrangement are made and agreed to) and they work you through the duty free and unpaid lunchtime. If you must dig into your own pocket as well, you might want to reconsider giving up your time for free. Please call TAAAC for assistance.