State Senators Express Concern about OLO Report
By Patricia B. O’Neill, Board President
Two senior members of the Montgomery County legislative delegation are echoing the concerns that several Board of Education members, including myself, have expressed regarding the recent Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) report on resources and staffing in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). In separate statements, State Senator Richard S. Madaleno, Jr. and State Senator Nancy J. King expressed concerns about the findings in the report, especially the conclusion that “compensatory funding” received from the state should only be used in high-need schools.
“The OLO report mischaracterizes the requirements of the state’s compensatory aid formula to mask the impact of the county government’s reduction in per pupil funding for MCPS,” wrote Sen. Madaleno, who serves as vice chair for the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. “It sows division when there needs to be community collaboration and engagement to sustain the policies and programs needed to close the achievement gap.”
Senator King, a member of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and Chair of the Education subcommittee, added: “I am particularly concerned by the report’s claims that millions of dollars intended for students impacted by poverty are being spent elsewhere. The implication is that resources meant for closing the achievement gap are being supplanted. This is a serious charge, but OLO’s conclusion is based on a complete misrepresentation of the intent and purpose of funding under the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002.”
Both state senators urged the County Council to work with the Board of Education to provide the funding that MCPS needs to serve its growing student enrollment.
“The coming legislative session is going to be quite challenging; we will need all hands on deck to ensure that Montgomery County gets all the funding that our classrooms so desperately need,” Senator King wrote in her letter to the County Council. “Reports and messages that send conflicting signals to Annapolis are not helpful; especially to the extent that we might be spending precious time in Annapolis debunking the assertions in this report.”
Senator Madaleno wrote: “I would urge my colleagues on the County Council to summarily dismiss any further advocacy about returning to an old, outdated, and overly restricted method of allocating state aid and focus on finding ways to ensure that our schools have the resources they need to meet the needs of every single student. Our children deserve nothing less.”
Read Senator Madaleno’s statement