Board of Education Meets with Legislative Delegation
By Patricia B. O’Neill
November 5, 2015
My Board colleagues and I met with members of our legislative delegation this morning in Rockville. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get together every year to discuss how we can work together to support the needs of our students and increase awareness of these needs in the halls of Annapolis. We appreciate all of the efforts of our delegates and senators to advocate for our community in the General Assembly, as state financial support in our capital and operating budgets is an essential part of our budget given that resources have been so strained at the local level.
We briefed our delegates and senators on our ever-growing enrollment—up by more than 2,500 students again this year. Having grown by more than 18,000 students over the last ten years has greatly exacerbated our capacity issues. That’s why it is so important that our Annapolis and county leaders understand the importance of fully funding the interim superintendent’s recommended Capital Improvements Program. We’ll need our community to join with us in advocating for funding we need to meet our construction needs. We need to keep working to ensure that we get our fair share of state construction dollars and to let Gov. Larry Hogan know that his idea of reducing the total amount of school construction funding would be a horrible mistake. We want the public to weigh in on these important issues as well and comment on our proposed capital budget at two public hearings.
We must also work with our delegation to persuade Gov. Hogan to fully fund the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) funding that is an essential part of our operating budget. His refusal to release the GCEI funding last year cost MCPS $17 million, which was part of the reason we had to cut more than 370 positions last June. We need this GCEI funding and we must work to ensure it is restored.
In addition to our capital and operating budget discussions, we also discussed the recent Office of Legislative Oversight report about our use of state funding. As we have previously written, the OLO report attempted to make the case to go back to a funding formula discarded by the state more than 12 years ago. State Senators Nancy King and Richard Madaleno criticized the faulty conclusion of that report in public statements and a letter to Council President George Leventhal.
We are grateful that so many members of our delegation could join us for a robust discussion today. We look forward to working hand in hand with our delegation in Annapolis to secure the state funding we need to serve our students.
If you would like to read the materials shared with the delegation, we’ve posted them here:
- Adequacy of Funding Study for Education in the State of Maryland
- FY17-22 CIP Projects by Legislative District
- OLO Study-Resources and Staffing
- OLO Study-Review of MCPS Rev-Exp Program
- Presentation for Delegation 11_5_15