Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No Word on Waiver

Because we still have not received the State’s decision on our request for a waiver on the educational funding requirement under the State’s Maintenance of Effort law, we will not have sufficient information to take a straw vote on the budget on Thursday as originally planned. We likely will take the straw vote on Tuesday, May 19, with the final action still scheduled for May 21 if all goes well. There are a lot of moving parts at this time, so stay tuned.

The Maintenance of Effort law requires jurisdictions to appropriate at least the same amount of money per pupil from their own budgets as they did in the previous year, regardless of any additional funding that may be received from other sources such as the state or federal government.

Because we received additional federal and state aid for education, we believe we can reduce our local funding portion of the school system’s budget without going below the program level recommended by the Board of Education. This being an extreme year, we are hopeful the State will grant a one-time waiver of the Maintenance of Effort requirement so that we do not have to make extreme cuts to other programs. We expect to hear tomorrow (May 15).

If we do not receive the waiver, then we must provide additional funding to the school system. There will be no other option but to take the money from other parts of the government, so we’ll have to re-evaluate our earlier decisions or take some other dramatic action.

If we do receive the waiver, we will finalize the remaining details of the budget, including Reconciliation List items (those which have not yet been approved, but are recommended for approval if funding permits), on the same day as the straw vote.

Now it gets REALLY interesting.

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