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Montgomery County Still Awaiting Word On Fines Over School Funding

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By Matt Bush

Montgomery County executive Isiah Leggett is stepping up his attacks regarding the possibility the county could be fined by the state board of education.

The county faces fines that could top $40 million for underfunding a school funding formula last year. Leggett didn't mince words when describing the situation. "This stupid law that is called maintenance of effort," says Leggett, "it is well intended, but has a consequence that is unbelievable."

The law essentially requires counties spend more money per student each successive year. Leggett says Montgomery County has spent well above the requirement each year this decade until last year. He wants a waiver for the requirement this year. House speaker Mike Busch wouldn't guarantee a waiver would be granted, but says they will "rework the criteria for maintenance of effort and what it would take to get a waiver for maintenance of effort." "That is one of the things we will take up during this general assembly session," says Busch.

The state board of education has no timetable on when it will decide whether to fine the county.

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