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State Board of Education seeks public response to Arundel funding dispute

The state Board of Education is fielding public comment on its contention that the Anne Arundel County government did not meet a state-mandated education funding requirement, it announced Wednesday.

The state board's move comes about two months after interim state schools Superintendent Bernard Sadusky sent a letter to Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold stating that the county was not in compliance with its fiscal year 2012 funding requirement. State law requires that local governments maintain at a minimum the same per-pupil funding as the previous year.

Sadusky's letter stated that the minimum amount for fiscal year 2012 is $568 million and that Anne Arundel schools Superintendent Kevin Maxwell certified that the net local appropriation was $556 million.

On Jan. 10, Leopold sent a written reply to Sadusky disputing the finding and requesting that the county be given a hearing before the state board on the dispute. Anne Arundel County budget officer John Hammond also issued a Jan. 10 letter to Sadusky stating that Maxwell's certification amount omitted the interest the county spends on its debt, which when included, would meet the funding requirement.

State Board of Education spokesman Bill Reinhard said the board has set a deadline of 5 p.m. Feb. 24 to receive formal written responses.

The school funding law has become a contentious issue, with General Assembly leaders working to change it this session.

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