Anne Arundel Co. School Leader Blasts Leopold Over Funding

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credit: WJZ

credit: WJZ

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Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — New heat on Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold—this time from the head of the county’s schools over funding for those schools.

Meghan McCorkell has the latest criticism of Leopold.

The state school board has ruled the county violated the law with its 2012 state budget. Now county leaders are trying to make the money up.

Overcrowded classrooms and concerned parents. Anne Arundel County school officials say it’s all because the school system was shorted $12 million in this year’s county budget.

“It has certainly damaged our ability to deliver services, with class sizes in particular,” said Kevin Maxwell, Anne Arundel County Schools Superintendent.

The state school board has ruled County Executive John Leopold broke the law when he included bond repayments for school construction in the maintenance of effort funding, leaving the school system $12 million short. Now there are fears for next year’s budget.

“Once again, presented a budget to the County Council that is $12 million shy of maintenance and effort,” Maxwell said.

But the county executive says his 2013 budget fulfills all of the schools’ needs, including adding 62 new teaching positions.

“They want pay raises. We can’t afford that. Especially over the last two years, when other county employees are taking pay cuts and furloughs, it did not seem equitable to give school board employees a pay raise,” Leopold said.

When it comes to the $12 million, Leopold says he’ll work to find a way to get it back in the school budget.

“We’re going to try to do that. We’re going to have a collaboration effort with the County Council and look for ways to satisfy that requirement,” Leopold said.

Council hearings on the 2013 budget begin Tuesday.

The County Council must approve the 2013 budget by the end of the week.

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