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Fiscal 2005 State Education Aid
May 7, 2004


The Prince George’s County Public Schools will receive nearly $600 million in state education aid in the upcoming fiscal year, an increase of more than $80 million, or 15.4 percent, from fiscal 2004. The extra money represents the third installment of a planned six-year major boost in funding under the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002, commonly known as the Thornton plan.

Overall, the budget adopted at the end of the 2004 session of the General Assembly in April increased funding for public primary and secondary education statewide by $314.3 million, or 9.5 percent. Total state spending for public education in fiscal 2005 will be more than $3.6 billion.

Prince George’s will be the top recipient of state education funds next year, with Baltimore City close behind at $590 million.

Although the legislature decided to provide full funding for Thornton, it failed to add money for the “geographic cost-of-education index.” An assistant state attorney general last year issued an opinion that, because the Bridge to Excellence Act did not specify the amounts to be spent for the GCEI in future years, the governor is not required to include this money in his budget. Governor Ehrlich did not request GCEI funding for fiscal 2005. Failure to fund the provision cost Prince George’s $16-19 million it otherwise would have received.

In addition to the $3.0443 billion allotted for Thornton programs, the state will spend another $590.4 million on its contribution to the teachers’ retirement program, non-public special education, and other programs, bringing overall education spending in fiscal 2005 to $3.6347 billion. The retirement program contribution has been mentioned as a possible target for reduction or elimination in fiscal 2006, when the state will need to close a massive projected budget deficit.

Also, on May 5, the Board of Public Works completed its allocations of public school construction funds for fiscal 2005. The Board earlier had allocated about $75.5 million to various counties, with Prince George’s receiving $6.474 million. The capital budget approved by the General Assembly designated another $41.1 million for school construction, bringing the total to $116.6 million. Of the additional funds, the Board allocated $3.7 million to Prince George’s, bringing the county’s total for fiscal 2005 to $10.174 million. The county had requested $25.231 million for school construction and renovation for next year.

The following table shows the funding allocated to Prince George’s under Bridge to Excellence programs for fiscal 2004 and fiscal 2005.

Prince George's Allocation
Major State Education Aid Programs
Summary Excluding the Aging Schools Program
Program
FY 2004

FY 2005
(estimated)

Dollar Increase
Percent Increase
Foundation Program
380,370,335
412,137,212
31,766,877
8.4%
Total Transportation Grants
24,819,709
26,325,918
1,506,209
6.1%
Compensatory Education
82,126,129
113,307,479
31,181,350
38.0%
Limited English Proficient
10,789,148
15,868,451
5,079,303
47.1%
Special Education Formula
19,942,286
25,873,710
5,931,424
29.7%
Extended Elementary Education
1,731,575
1,515,137
-216,438
-12.5%
Guaranteed Tax Base*
4,935,097
4,935,097
--
Total Direct Mandated Grants
519,779,182
599,963,004
80,183,822
15.4%
*New in FY 2005        

 


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PGBEA
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College Park, MD 20741-0073
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E-mail: alliance@pgbea.org