MoCo Budget Plans In Flux After State Education Board's Decision
After three hours behind closed doors this morning, Montgomery County's response to a devastating decision by state education officials last week was still in flux.
On Friday, the state Board of Education rejected the county's request to reduce its share of local school funding, widening Montgomery's budget gap by $79.5 million and upsetting the County Council's plans for a budget vote this week.
Council members, County Executive Isiah Leggett - and eventually Schools Superintendent Jerry D. Weast - huddled with their lawyers to plot the county's response. The board's decision would essentially give the school system $79.5 million more than it anticipated receiving. One option that appears to be gaining traction would have the government charge the school system that amount of money to cover the debt service on bonds for school building projects.
But reaching consensus depends on the details. The school system apparently wants to ensure that the shift in responsibility would be a one-time agreement, something not all council members are ready to commit to, according to meeting participants.
"We are far from resolving this thing," said one person in the room.
Another issue is whether to appeal the board's decision. In an interview Friday, Leggett dismissed the idea of an appeal because of the timing. The council must approve a budget by June 1. But meeting participants said there was some support for an appeal by the council's attorneys.
The council was scheduled to take a preliminary budget vote tomorrow, but that too appears influx for the moment.
Posted by: mfennel1 | May 19, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse
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