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Board of Education Adopts Fiscal Year 2017 Operating Budget

February 9, 2016

Rockville, MD – The Montgomery County Board of Education voted 6-1 to adopt a $2.5 billion operating budget request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. This includes an increase of $180,244,605 from FY 2016.  This spending increase is designed to strengthen the system’s foundation, which has been squeezed by eight years of difficult economic times, and accelerate efforts to close the achievement gap for African American, Latino, and economically disadvantaged students.  

“This budget reflects the need to reinvest in our students and schools after nearly a decade of cuts,” said Board President Michael Durso. “As our enrollment grows and as our students’ needs grow, we must substantially increase our investments in our children.  The Maintenance of Effort funding level that has become our status quo is insufficient for us to properly serve our students and fulfill our mission.”

The Board of Education’s requested budget increase will pay for the same level of services for more than 2,500 additional students and includes targeted investments to close the achievement gap;  improve students’ literacy and math skills; reduce class sizes; build the cultural proficiency of staff; foster stronger partnerships with the community and families to support students; accelerate efforts to improve and diversify the workforce; and better organize the district to ensure every student is prepared for college and careers. All of the enhancements are aligned to the district’s five Strategic Priorities and District Implementation Plan. The enhancements include both new and realigned resources for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.  

The Board of Education budget request represents an increase of $45.7 million over the interim superintendent’s recommended budget. The additional resources requested by the Board are shown in three tiers that are intended to provide guidance for the Board during final budget deliberations in June.    

The tiers are:

Tier I – 228.8 FTEs and $15.7 million

  • Partially restore class sizes to previous levels in elementary, middle, and high school
  • Increase the number of focus teachers to address closing the achievement gap in literacy and mathematics for African-American, Latino, and economically disadvantaged students
  • Increase the number of elementary counselors to reduce ratios in schools most highly impacted by poverty
  • Provide additional funding for graduation venues

Tier II – 145.4 FTEs and $15.8 million

  • Partially restore class sizes to previous levels in middle and high schools
  • Increase the number of elementary schools with Special Education Home School Model staffing
  • Increase the number of pre-kindergarten classes
  • Expand the middle school leadership model to additional schools
  • Expand minority achievement programming in high schools to address the achievement and opportunity gaps, including during-the-day, after-school, and extracurricular programs for African American, Latino, and economically disadvantaged students
  • Increase counselors, psychologists, parent community coordinators, and pupil personnel workers (PPWs) to support the most highly impacted schools
  • Increase paraeducators to provide support in elementary mathematics to address the achievement and opportunity gaps in mathematics
  • Increase professional development focused on closing the achievement gap in literacy and mathematics for African-American, Latino, and economically disadvantaged students, including strategies to reengage disconnected youth
  • Increase funding for the continued rollout of Chromebooks
  • Increase maintenance support for indoor air quality
  • Increase instrumental music teachers in elementary schools

Tier III – 171.4 FTEs and $14.1 million

  • Restore class sizes to FY 2009  levels in elementary, middle, and high school 
  • Increase counselors, psychologists, parent community coordinators, and PPWs to support schools most highly impacted by poverty
  • Expand the middle school leadership model to additional schools
  • Increase the number of elementary schools with Special Education Home School Model staffing
  • Fund enhanced Read 180 programming for students who need additional literacy support in middle and high schools
  • Increase textbook allocations to schools
  • Increase instrumental music teachers in elementary schools
  • Enhance maintenance support to schools
  • Increase the number of elementary school assistant principals

“We recognize the fiscal constraints that have led to decreased funding of schools and we have done our part to improve efficiency and maximize the use of every tax dollar provided to MCPS,” said Mr. Durso. “However, we simply cannot cut any further and we must begin reinvesting in our schools.”

The adopted budget also requests the Montgomery County Council to restore $24 million in one-time funding used for the FY 2016 budget and an additional $7.9 million to pay for teacher pension costs that have been shifted from the state to the county.

Interim Superintendent Larry Bowers presented his recommended budget to the Board of Education in December for consideration. In January, the Board conducted public work sessions to review the recommendation and held two public hearings for the public to testify about the budget.

The Board will submit its budget request to the Montgomery County executive and Montgomery County Council by March 1. County Executive Isiah Leggett is expected to release his budget recommendation by March 15. The Montgomery County Council will hold public hearings on the county budget in April before passing a final budget in May. The Board of Education will vote again in June for final adoption of the budget.

Board President Durso, along with Board members Christopher Barclay,  Phillip Kauffman, Patricia O’Neill,  Jill Ortman-Fouse and Rebecca Smondrowski, voted in favor of the budget. Vice President Judy Docca voted in opposition.  As the student member, Mr. Eric Guerci is not permitted to vote on the budget.  

 

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