Hogan Declines to Release Extra School Funding

Hogan Declines to Release Extra School Funding

Montgomery County school board president says decision leaves nearly $18 million hole in schools' budget

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Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at a press conference about education and pension funding

Maryland Governor's Office

Montgomery County school board President Patricia O’Neill says that Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision to withhold nearly $18 million in anticipated extra funding for the county’s public schools will likely impact “every school in the district.” Hogan decided Thursday to hold the budget line and not release an additional $68 million that would have gone to school districts, including Montgomery County Public Schools, where costs to educate students are higher.

The move means MCPS will lose about $17.8 million in funding it expected to receive under the state’s Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) funding formula.

At an afternoon press conference Thursday, Hogan said he would not transfer money from the state’s pension fund, as proposed by the state legislature, in order to provide the full funding required by the formula.

“We are extremely disappointed that Gov. Larry Hogan has decided to not fully fund public education in Fiscal Year 2016,” O’Neill said in a statement. “His decision leaves a $17 million hole in our budget that will require us to take very difficult actions that will impact every school in our district.”

Hogan’s decision was announced after the Montgomery County Council voted to initially approve next year’s budget. The county’s budget increased funding for MCPS by 1.4 percent, but was $53 million less than the school board requested.

O’Neill noted that the school system has already made plans to save more than $30 million by eliminating more than 80 central office positions as well as 370 school-based positions.

“The Governor’s decision will now require us to make even deeper cuts that could impact our ability to serve every child to the highest level possible,” O’Neill said.

This is the final year Hogan could decide to withhold funds required by the supplemental funding program. During this year’s General Assembly state lawmakers passed a bill requiring the governor to fully fund the program in future years. Hogan said Thursday he would not veto the bill because he realized he didn’t have enough votes in the legislature to prevent state lawmakers from overriding his veto.

The $68 million cut means that the state will decrease its spending per pupil for the first time in a decade, according to an analysis by the General Assembly’s Department of Legislative Services. The total spending per pupil in fiscal year 2016, which starts in July, is estimated to be $7,015, a $186 decrease from fiscal year 2015, according to the analysis.

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