For all the talk these days about “Maintenance of Effort Funding” (per pupil cost) levels for the School System, and last year's threat of legal action over this same question, I think it is essential to understand just how accurate the school system enrollment projections are (or are not).
I just looked at the last 9 budget cycles, and see that it is common for these projections to be off by more than 1,000 students. In fact, most of the time the MCPS enrollment numbers, the basic building block of the operating budget are more than 1,000 students off.
In five of the past nine years, actual Montgomery County Public Schools enrollment was higher than projected, and in four of the past nine years it was less than projected. In other words: all that one can reasonably expect is that MCPS can project enrollment within a range of plus or minus about 1,500 students in any given year.
Extrapolating this to Maintenance of Effort, suggests that at budget time M.O.E. is not really a number, but rather an estimated target range. And at this time that range is about plus or minus $20 million dollars...See chart for details...2011_enrollment_and_MOE