Most Board of Education members said they are merely meeting their obligations to teachers and families by pressing for $10 million above what’s mandated by the maintenance-of-effort law.
“If you break it down, we’re talking about 36 cents per kid, per school day. That’s pretty reasonable,” Board of Education President Christopher S. Barclay said.
Board of Education Vice President Philip Kauffman said the board is trying to balance the country’s limited resources with a growing school system that is adding diverse students with more intense needs.
“They think we’re declaring war on them by asking for this increase,” Kauffman said. “If we wanted to declare war, we would have asked for a whole lot more.”
Kauffman said the maintenance-of-effort law wasn’t meant to establish a ceiling for education spending but a floor.
And that is what has also frustrated many members of the council. Under changes in the state law last year, engineered with heavy support of the teachers union, any spending above the maintenance-of-effort threshold automatically becomes part of the next year’s base. And, if the council fails to meet the legal minimum, county income tax revenue can be funneled directly to the public school system.