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Statement from Board of Education President Michael Durso and Interim Superintendent of Schools Larry Bowers on the Montgomery County Council's Preliminary Approval of the Fiscal Year 2017 Operating Budget

May 19, 2016

Montgomery County Board of Education President Michael A. Durso and Interim Superintendent Larry A. Bowers released the following statement on the Montgomery County Council’s preliminary approval of the Fiscal Year 2017 Operating Budget:

“We are pleased that the Montgomery County Council is significantly increasing its investment in our children. Every dollar we spend today is a down payment on the future of our community. This is truly an “education first” budget and recognizes that we must provide more resources to ensure that our children receive what they need to thrive in their future.

“The County Council’s vote to fund the Fiscal Year 2017 Operating Budget above Maintenance of Effort for the first time since 2009 means our school system will now have more of the critical resources needed to not only keep pace with skyrocketing enrollment, but also to reduce class size and aggressively work to close the achievement gap.

“These new resources will fund efforts including, but not limited to,—

  • Lowering class sizes with additional teachers to continue our commitment that all students have opportunities to succeed and will be successful

  • Lowering student-to-staff ratios by increasing the amount of targeted paraeducator support available to students in classrooms

  • Increasing administrative support for our teachers and students

  • Allocating additional focus teachers to impacted schools to provide targeted support, especially in content areas such as literacy and mathematics, in order to address achievement gaps

  • Providing focused professional development to teachers and paraeducators, especially in mathematics and literacy

  • Allocating additional school counselors to our larger, impacted elementary schools

  • Reimagining and expanding our Students Engaged in Pathways to Achievement (SEPA) program

  • Increasing the number of parent community coordinators, psychologists, and pupil personnel workers to provide support for our most vulnerable students and their families

  • Increasing minority achievement programs, including our Student to Educator Pathway (STEP) program, after-school extracurricular activities, mentoring programs, university partnerships, and intervention to graduation programs

  • Expanding the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program to additional schools

  • Enhancing college and career readiness and dual language programs

“These efforts are essential for us to ensure that every child, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, limited English proficiency, socioeconomic status, or disability, succeeds at high levels.

“The Board of Education, and indeed our entire community, thank County Executive Isiah Leggett and the County Council for making public education a priority in the budget process. We recognize that raising property taxes is never an easy decision and we take very seriously our commitment to ensuring that every dollar will be wisely spent to deliver the best possible education for all of our more than 156,000 students.  We also want to thank our partners who worked so closely with us to develop this year’s budget—the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals (MCAAP), the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), the Service Employees International Union Local 500 (SEIU), the Montgomery County Council of PTAs (MCCPTA) and representatives of our African American and Latino student achievement action groups for their commitment to our students and our schools.”

The Board of Education will begin reviewing the details of the budget immediately and will take final action on June 14.

 

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