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Anne Arundel County Board of Education Budget 101

What's happening with the Anne Arundel County Public Schools Budget? Where can I get more information about it? The AACPS School Board Member Blog is here to try to help answer your questions.

Each the year the Anne Arundel County Board of Education creates, submits, and approves an annual fiscal budget. The budget process is aligned to both Board of Education policies and state law. The budget process also follows a timeline in sync with the federal, state, and county budget process because the Board of Education has no taxing authority and receives funding from the aforementioned sources to operate. However, the Board of Education is responsible to uphold the Maryland State Constitution, which states: “The General Assembly, at its First Session after the adoption of this Constitution, shall by Law establish throughout the State a thorough and efficient System of Free Public Schools; and shall provide by taxation, or otherwise, for their maintenance.”

Summary of the Budget Process 

In brief, the Superintendent begins the budget process in December prior to each budget cycle by submitting the Capital and Operating Budget to the Board of Education. The Board of Education holds several public hearings and then votes on the budget in February. The Board of Education then submits its budget to the County Executive, who in April can approve, reduce, or shift funds for the school board budget. In May, the County Council holds public hearings on the County Executive's proposed budget. The Anne Arundel County Council then has the ability to amend the budget, but not increase it, and must pass a final approved budget in June. The School Board then approves the final budget following the County Council's actions.

Detailed Budget Information
The entire proposed current and prior budgets, as well as a chart explaining the budget process, can be found here.   Please note that there are two categories for the budget. The categories include the Capital Budget (generally fixed assets, i.e. buildings, facilities, etc…) and the Operating Budget (salaries, programs, etc...). Again, it is important for stakeholders to understand that the Board of Education does not have the authority to collect or raise revenue. The County Executive, County Council, and the state determine final and supplemental resources used to fund the school system. However, after the final budget is approved by the County Council, the Anne Arundel County Board of Education does have say over where funds may be allocated. Some funding cannot be moved or transferred within some categories due to legal restrictions provided by the state.

Maintenance of Effort

The State of Maryland has a record in its recent history in supporting education for all students. Several educational studies and publications have pointed to Maryland having the top schools in the country. It is obvious that this success could not come without predictable financial support and steady funding. Enter the concept of the Maryland Maintenance of Effort law. In the 1980’s as Maryland began its ascension and movement to improving education, the state wanted to pass a school spending law which is referred to as "maintenance of effort." Simply, it is to ensure that all Maryland localities (counties and Baltimore City), spend as much on each student's education as they did the previous year. Without getting into the exact formula and history of debates that have occurred over this law since its inception, the latest changes that just occurred in recent Maryland General Assembly are as follows:

  • Establish maintenance of effort as the legal funding "floor" for counties, and would require them to seek a waiver from the state school board if they cannot meet maintenance of effort;
  • When a county seeks a waiver of maintenance of effort, the State Board may now take into account a county’s history of school funding, as well as economic circumstances; and
  •  Permit county governments to break local property-tax caps to fund education, 

 

How can I advocate to uphold the Maryland State Constitution and encourage stakeholders and policymakers to support education?

1.  Contact members of the county council.  Contact information can be found here.

2.  Join your fellow citizens at one of the upcoming meetings for the Anne Arundel County Board of Education - FY 2013 Operating and Capital Budget.

  • Wednesday, May 9 - 7 pm - County Council - Public Hearing at the Arundel Center in Annapolis.
  • Monday, May 14 - 7 pm - County Council - Public Hearing at Old Mill High School.
  • Wednesday, June 20 - 10 am - Board of Education - FY 2013 Operating & Capital Budget Adoption.

Note: This post was written by Andrew Pruski, an At-Large Member of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education.  He has been a member of the board since 2009 when he was selected to fill a vacant seat, and his term will expire in 2013.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Amy Leahy May 11, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Mrs. Birge: I will note that the current county executive has been quick to cut funding and he has ham stringed the school board. We've also seen this in the adopted budgets of other departments (oops….the BOE is NOT a department) where county employees have been forced to take furlough days and cuts have been made to personnel positions. BOE employees were not forced to take any furlough days. And will the state government decide to step in to assist first responders? Police and Fire? Our fire department is now having the 4th shift cut which will have a huge impact on their personnel and their work performance. If this budget passes, we will effectively have more personnel on a trash truck than a fire truck. The amount of children in the school system has increased dramatically because of the illegal immigrants. The parents of these kids are not paying taxes but we are still obligated to educate the kids. It's no wonder the tax cap is stretched. It's a slippery slope….that's the point. We do have a good school system but what makes that more important than police and fire such that the state government intervenes?
Sandy May 12, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Ms. Leahy - What is your evidence showing that the amount of children in our school system has "increased dramatically" due to illegal immigrants?
Teresa Milio Birge May 12, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Note: This is the opinion of Teresa Birge and not the opinion of the members of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education. I don't believe that education is more important than police and fire, but it is different. The State constitution mandates a free and appropriate education for all children in the State, so the State legislature is obligated to make certain that such an education is delivered to all students in the State of Maryland. I am not aware of such a constitutional mandate for police or fire protection. Again, I am not saying that those services are less important, they are just not constitutionally mandated.
Jim Davis May 12, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Mrs. Birge: The basic question is still unanswered. I think it is safe to say at this point that the legislature is going to give a large portion of the teacher's retirement fund to the counties and have them pay it. My question is will it fit within the MOE or will it be a separate line in the county budget outside of the school boards responsibility? Or more directly put will it be like the fire and police systems?
Jim Davis May 14, 2012 at 08:34 PM
From the State Report on the Special Session and transferring the teacher retirement fund. http://mlis.state.md.us/2012RS/misc/2012S1_ReportOnBRFA.pdf page 19. "The required maintenance of effort amount paid by counties increases each year by the additional pension costs during the phase-in period." The answer to my question is the MOE increases by how much is required to pay into the fund. Therefore the logical thing to happen is for the County to become the hiring/negotiating/firing authority and for the schools to become an agency of the county under direct County Council control.

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