Montgomery County Board of Education President Michael Durso and Interim Superintendent of Schools Larry Bowers released the following statement today concerning the publication of County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recommended Fiscal Year 2017 Operating Budget for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS):
“We appreciate that County Executive Isiah Leggett has recommended a substantial investment in our schools in his FY 2017 budget proposal. Mr. Leggett clearly recognizes that we must invest in our students now and that we can no longer fund our schools at the minimum amount required by state law. This is significant because it is the first time since 2009 that his budget recommendation has exceeded the minimum amount required under Maintenance of Effort. The difficult economic times and lean budgets over the last seven years have forced us to cut 1,800 positions, increase class size and eliminate many programs our students and schools need.
“While we appreciate the additional investment of $135.9 million this year, it is still significantly short of the $180.2 million increase requested by the Board of Education. We know that we cannot wait any longer to reinvest in our schools. Our children are counting on us to provide the resources they need so that we can give them the high-quality education they need to be successful in school and in life.
“The county executive’s budget is a great start and a true recognition of the needs our students have. Now we need the County Council to support the county executive’s recommendation and to provide the additional funding we need to ensure that we can serve all students well and accelerate our efforts to close the achievement gap.
We understand Mr. Leggett’s budget recommendation is based on an increase in the property tax rate and we urge all of the County Council members to support this recommendation. Investing in education is an investment in the future of this county. Without this investment, we will not be able to make the progress that Mr. Leggett has advocated for and our parents and staff have demanded. Our community has always placed a high priority on education and we believe they will support this new investment.”