On Thursday, May 15, 2015, the Montgomery County Council tentatively approved a Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Operating Budget that provides a 1.4 percent increase for Montgomery County Public Schools. The Montgomery County Board of Education had requested a 4 percent increase. Also on Thursday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Jr., announced that he would not fully fund the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI), which provides additional money to school districts where it is more expensive to provide an education. MCPS expected to receive $34 million in GCEI funds this year but, instead, will receive $17 million.
Board of Education President Patricia B. O’Neill released the following statement on Thursday:
“We are extremely disappointed that Gov. Larry Hogan has decided not to fully fund public education in Fiscal Year 2016. His decision leaves a $17 million hole in our budget that will require us to take very difficult actions that will impact every school in our district.
“Earlier today, the Montgomery County Council tentatively approved a 1.4 percent increase in spending for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), which is $53 million less than what we had requested. While we are disappointed that our budget was not fully funded, we understand that the County Council had to make some difficult decisions during a time of lagging tax revenues. This made state funding even more important.
“Our budget already included more than $8 million in reductions and Interim Superintendent Larry A. Bowers has put spending and hiring restrictions in place that have resulted in more than $30 million in savings that will be put toward next year’s budget. Mr. Bowers has also eliminated more than 80 central office positions and is holding back more than 370 school-based positions, including teachers, ESOL instructors, special education staff, and other important positions.
“The Governor’s decision will now require us to make even deeper cuts that could impact our ability to serve every child to the highest level possible.”