Welcome to Budget 101!
Montgomery County Public Schools has a $2.519 billion operating budget for Fiscal Year 2018 to fund the operations of 204 schools and provide for the educational needs of 161,302 (*Projected SY 2017-18 Enrollment) students. We created Budget 101 to provide an overview of what's in the MCPS operating budget. This site will show you where our funding comes from, how it's spent, and how we staff individual schools to ensure we are meeting the needs of every student. Watch this short overview video to learn more...
The MCPS budget is driven by three factors that impact how and where we invest our resources.
Enrollment in MCPS has grown by more than 23,000 students in the past ten years. The district receives additional dollars from the state and the county to account for growth each year.
Our core values of learning, relationships, respect, excellence and equity compel us to act and unite us around our goal - Academic Excellence for ALL.
|MCPS Fund Balance||$22.8M||0.9%|
Funding the MCPS budget is a partnership, with funding coming from three main sources:
Tax revenue and other county dollars provide the most revenue for the MCPS budget—about 66 percent. However, that percentage has been falling in recent years.
More than a quarter of the budget (27%) is funded through state revenue. The percentage of the budget funded through state revenue has grown in recent years.
The federal government only provides about 3 percent of the money used to fund the MCPS budget.
Maintenance of Effort (MOE) is a state law established in 1984 that requires every local government to spend at least as much per student as it did the previous year to receive additional state aid for education. MOE funding is calculated for a school year by taking the official K-12 enrollment from the prior year and comparing it to the official K–12 enrollment from two prior years. The amount of enrollment change is multiplied by the cost per pupil for the previous year to determine the incremental funding change required under the MOE law.
For Fiscal Year 2018, Montgomery County Public Schools received $26.6 million in additional funding from the county under the MOE law. This increase in funding for MOE was based on an enrollment increase of 2641.5 students in the 2016-2017 school year compared with the previous school year. MOE is the minimum amount of funding the state requires the county to provide, but it is not sufficient to cover the increases in costs that MCPS—or any school system—incurs. For example, MOE doesn’t take into account basic cost increases for such things as utilities, textbooks, etc. The county provided $21.2 million more than the minimum required MOE in FY 2018.
Why the MOE level of funding of $26.6 million did not provide sufficient resources for the FY 2018 budget
Enrollment growth and new school required 237 new positions at a cost of
Inflation-related costs totaled
Costs related to employee benefits increased $9.7 million
Costs related to salary increases totaled $38.4 million
All combined, these additional requirements total $74.1 million, or $47.5 million more than the minimum funding provided under the MOE law.
The vast majority of the MCPS budget goes exactly where it should—into the classroom and to services that directly support student success. Education is a people business and that is why more than 90 percent of the MCPS budget pays for the salaries, wages and benefits for the teachers, support professionals, and administrators who work with and on behalf of students every day.
The vast majority of our employees work in our 203 schools.
MCPS has created a "Program Budget" that provides a summary of how MCPS invests its resources to support students within the following broad categories:
Programs in this category include those that provide direct services to students to narrow the achievement gap. The resources and services provided by these programs are over - and above core general education programs and services.
Programs included in this category are those that MCPS administers in partnership with other governmental, business, and community entities to support the instructional and social emotional needs of students and narrow the achievement gap.
This category of programs includes those that focus on building the capacity of schools and staff to deliver the highest quality instruction.
The core instructional programs are those that serve all elementary, middle, and high school students.
School operational support programs are those that provide transportation, building services and maintenance, safety and security, and other support services to students and schools.
Programs in this category include resources that support and provide lead text-centerership for systemwide policies and academic priorities, provide operational lead text-centerership, and administer business services that support MCPS students, schools, and employees.
Like other employers, MCPS offers health benefits coverage to its current employees and retirees.
EBP is a mostly self-insured plan in that MCPS assumes the risk and liability to pay for the health benefits costs that are incurred by both employees and retirees.
EBP expenditures in FY 2018 are expected to total $472.8 million for active employees and retirees.
EBP expenditures are funded from the MCPS Operating Budget, active and retired employee contributions and rebates
Expenditures result from premiums paid to health care organizations, claims submitted by employees and retirees for health care services, and for administrative expenses.
As the vast majority of the MCPS operating budget pays for personnel and funds the instructional program in each school, a common question often asked concerns how schools are staffed. Specifically, how does MCPS decide how many teachers, administrators, and support professionals work in each school? How does MCPS determine which schools will be allocated additional staff to have lower class sizes compared to other schools? These and many other questions can be answered by reviewing the following materials.
MCPS funds its schools using four key principles:
Resources are allocated in an equitable, consistent manner in all 204 schools.
Schools that serve students with greater needs get greater resources.
The process gives building leaders the flexibility they need to use allocated resources to serve their students.
Everyone should understand the process and know how decisions are made in allocation of resources.
First, we allocate staff based on enrollment. It means that a school of 600 in Silver Spring gets the same base of staff as a school of 600 in Damascus or Rockville or Germantown. For instance, every school gets a principal. Every middle school gets an assistant principal, as well, but middle schools that have 650 or more students get a second assistant principal. In elementary schools, staffing for teachers is based on guidelines for class sizes. For Grades 1 through 3, schools are allocated teachers to keep class sizes at 27 or less. So, if a school has 100 first graders, it will receive four teachers. If enrollment increases to 120 first graders, the school will receive five teachers.
Next, we differentiate allocations based on the needs of the students the school serves. Schools that have more students who are economically disadvantaged receive extra staff to lower class sizes and provide additional support and interventions. For instance, in our higher-poverty elementary schools, we try to keep the average class size for Kindergarten and Grades 1 and 2 at 18 students or lower. So, based on enrollment, these schools get additional allocations. If a school has a higher population of English language learners, they will receive additional staff to provide English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services. However, the process provides flexibility to principals to allow them to address the specific needs of their school community.
MCPS also allocates staff and resources based on programs. If a school has a magnet, a special education center, or some other type of program, additional staff is provided. It’s important to note that special education staffing is allocated differently and is based on the needs outlined in each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Let’s look at the allocations for three actual elementary schools in MCPS, each with a similar enrollment but different numbers of students who receive English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services and/or free and reduced-price meals (FARMS), which is an indicator of poverty.
School A has a very low percentage of students receiving free and reduced-price meals—or FARMS. They also have very few ESOL students.
School B has a higher needs student population and School C would be among our most impacted elementary schools. Let’s look at their allocations.
School ALow FARMS
(600, 6%, 37)
(615, 50%, 113)
School CTitle I
(609, 82%, 317)
|Classroom Teacher 1-5||21.6||24||24|
|AMPE (Art, Music, PE)||3||3.9||3.9|
As the chart demonstrates, schools with more needs receive additional staff to serve students. Since students who live in poverty generally come to school needing more help with reading, Schools B and C are provided Academic Intervention (AI) teachers to improve literacy and academic outcomes. School C also receives significantly more ESOL staff since it serves a greater number of English language learners.
NOTE: The 2015–2016 Schools at a Glance report provides staffing for every school in MCPS last school year. However, it is important to note that staffing is slightly different from allocations. A school’s staffing reflects actual staff in the school at a particular time during the school year. This can be impacted by enrollment fluctuations, staff departures or long-term absences, and other factors.
Watch a video that explains how MCPS uses data and formulas to appropriately determine staffing allocations for each school.
There are many MCPS employees who directly serve students, but are not part of the staffing allocations that schools receive. Here are just a few examples:
MCPS transports about 100,000 students to and from school every day. There are nearly 1,150 MCPS buses on the road each day, and most of them do three or four routes in the morning and the afternoon. The number of miles our bus drivers travel each school day would circle the equator more than four times.
MCPS serves more than 15 million balanced, nutritious meals to students each year. More than 35 percent of MCPS students receive free or reduced-price meals, and the federal government provides some funding to offset the cost of providing student meals. However, the federal dollars do not cover the full cost of the meals. Our meals program is an "enterprise" account, meaning the revenue raised through meals is used to sustain and improve services.
MCPS has 204 schools for the 2017-18 school year and it’s up to the facilities and maintenance staff to keep those buildings looking good and working efficiently. This means keeping more than 25,274,000 square feet of space clean and maintaining heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) and other systems in the schools. When it snows, facilities staff gets to work early making sure parking lots and sidewalks are ready for students and staff as quickly as possible.
With the challenging budget times over the last seven years, we have increased the number of building service staff, but not at the pace we should have. For example, our building service workers are now responsible for cleaning 28,864 square footage of a building compared with 28,534 in 2009. The industry standard is about 19,000 square feet per person.
Developing the MCPS budget is a year-round process that involves many stakeholders and input from students, staff, and community members.
Ensuring our work is aligned to our needs and our strategic goals
Working with elected officials, community, staff and parents to develop a budget for MCPS
Allocating resources in an equitable, transparent manner
Providing schools with the staff they need to serve their students
Ensuring we are getting a return on the investment that our community makes
We don’t create the MCPS budget in a bubble—we work with many stakeholders and partners to create a spending plan that reflects our values and priorities.
The process begins in the summer with the Board of Education, which discusses and approves their operating budget interests. These are the general areas that the Board would like to see MCPS focus its resources on in the coming year.
Our employees and our parents are an important part of the budget process. In fact, representatives from our employee associations, the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, Latino Student Achievement Action Group, and the African American Student Achievement Action Group serve on the budget committee that reviews office and department budgets and helps the superintendent build a recommendation.
The voices of students, parents, staff, and community members are an important part of the budget process through public hearings, written input, and other engagement opportunities. Each year, the Board uses this input to ask questions about and make changes to the superintendent’s recommendation.
Throughout the budget process, we work closely with the Montgomery County Executive and County Council on a budget that meets the needs of the school system. We recognize that our county lead text-centerers have many priorities, but we also know they recognize the importance of MCPS in securing a bright future for Montgomery County.
Developing and implementing the budget is a year-round process.
For more information please visit:
View the FY 2018 Operating Budget
Everyone is invited to host a Neighbor to Neighbor discussion. It can take place during a PTA meeting; a brown bag lunch at a local business or nonprofit; or in the home of a neighbor or family member. The group size is up to the host, but make sure everyone has a chance to participate.