School Funding Issues
- The State Budget for FY 2019 (2018-2019 School Year)
- Kirwan Commission Fund ($200 million dedicated fund)
- Commercial Gaming Revenue for Education – Constitutional Amendment Ballot Question in 2018 ($500 Million increase in school funding over 4 years)
- School Safety Fund
- Private School Vouchers
The State Budget includes the State education aid for FY 2019 to fund public schools for the 2018-2019 school year. State aid for primary and secondary education increases by $169.1 million, or 2.6% in FY 2019 to $6.6 billion (including retirement costs). The $5.8 billion in State aid provided directly to the local boards of education increases by $170.6 million, or 3.0%, while retirement aid decreases by $1.5 million, or 0.2%. The foundation program totals $3.1 billion in FY 2019, an increase of $50.9 million, or 1.7%, over FY 2018. This increase is due to full-time equivalent enrollment growth of 8,286, or 1.0%, and a 0.8% inflationary increase in the per pupil foundation amount. The increase in the per pupil foundation amount brings it from $7,012 for FY 2018 to $7,065 for FY 2019.
The State Budget and BRFA also establish a new Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education Fund to “assist in providing adequate funding for early childhood education and primary and secondary education to provide a world-class education to students so they are prepared for college and a career in the global economy of the 21st Century, based on the final recommendations of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education.” The Comptroller is required to redirect $200 million in income tax revenue to this new fund.
2018 Ballot Question to “Fix the Fund”
Legislation passed to propose an amendment to the Maryland State Constitution to convert the Education Trust Fund (ETF) as a repository of gaming revenue which may be supplanted, into a source of supplemental education funding which must be included in the Governor’s annual state budgets in excess of what is otherwise mandated by school funding formulas. (SB 1122) (Sen. Conway)
If approved by the voters at the 2018 general election, the constitutional amendment would require the Governor to provide supplemental education funding in the following amounts and years: $125 million in FY 2020, $250 million in FY 2021, and $375 million in FY 2022. In all subsequent years, 100% of the gaming revenues dedicated to public education must be used for supplemental funding.
Gaming revenues dedicated to the Education Tust Fund total more than $500 million annually, and include approximately half of the revenues collected from video lottery terminals (VLTs, or slot machines), and 15 percent of the revenues collected from table games.
School Safety Fund
Regarding school safety, the budget includes $10 million for the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) to support school safety grants. In addition, budget language requires agencies including the State Police, MSDE, GOCCP, Homeland Security, and others to submit a report to the budget committees evaluating how best to manage and consolidate state resources available for monitoring and improving school safety.
Private School Voucher Funding
The Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2018, reduced the appropriation for the Aid to Nonpublic Schools Program in FY 2018 for schools found ineligible and specifies that any school deemed ineligible for the BOOST Program by the BOOST Advisory Board is also ineligible for the Aid to Nonpublic Schools Program. The BOOST Program receives $7 million in new funding in FY 2019, as well as approximately $600,000 in funding from FY 2018 that is carried forward. This brings total funding for the BOOST Program in FY 2019 to $7.6 million
For more information, contact John R. Woolums, Esq., MABE’s Director of Governmental Relations, at email@example.com or 410-841-5414.