The Education Committee of the Montgomery County Council has completed its review of the FY-2002 Operating Budget for Montgomery County Public Schools and added $18.5 million to the County Council's reconciliation list (or "wish list") for consideration by the full Council, if additional funding is available, to add back to the Board of Education's budget.
Currently, the Board of Education's budget is about $26.4 million less than the allocation allowed under the Council's spending affordability guidelines, and the Board has adopted a list of non-recommended reductions that could be considered to offset a loss of funding. That list was sent to the Education Committee after the Board's action on April 23.
Last week, the Education Committee met (April 26) and identified a five-tier list of recommendations, in priority order, to the Council for reconciling the difference between the Board's budget request and the spending affordability guideline. The County Council will hold its worksession on the MCPS operating budget on May 10.
The Education Committee's entire list is shown on the PDF file linked to this site The reconciliation list was tentatively divided as follows:
Tier A: Additional state funding received as a result of the 2001 General Assembly's approval of the Governor's Early Childhood Initiative. This avoids the need to make reductions of $1,537,698. The committee confirmed the Board of Education's recommendation to use this funding to avoid a reduction in 48.7 elementary school QIE/Academic Support Teacher positions.
Tier 1 (base budget and counseling): The committee recommended that these base budget and counseling items be restored. The committee also divided the building services worker initiative and moved some of the funds for this initiative to Tier 1 from Tier 2. The full Council must confirm this recommendation. This tier totals $5,702,070.
Tier 2 (new initiatives): The committee selected high priority initiatives for the second tier. The committee recommended that these items be restored to the FY 2002 budget from the reconciliation list. This tier totals $7,094,120, for a total in the first three tiers of $14,333,889.
Tier 3 (new initiatives): The committee identified lower priority initiatives and some base budget items for the third tier. The committee recommends that this tier should be approved if sufficient funding is available. This tier totals $4,214,573.
Tier 4 (base budget): The committee chose items from the base budget that it recommended for denial. The Board of Education had recommended these items as potential savings and efficiencies and as lower priority items that could be considered for reduction. The Council also added more lapse savings from the indoor air quality initiative to this tier. The committee largely followed the priorities as recommended by the Board of Education. This tier totals $7,866,066.
(See the link below to the PDF file of the itemized portions of each tier.)