Supporting our Students—Investing in our Future

Welcome to Budget 101!

Montgomery County Public Schools has a $2.68 billion operating budget for Fiscal Year 2020 to fund the operations of 206 schools and provide for the educational needs of 164,129 (*Projected SY 2019-20 Enrollment) students. We created Budget 101 to provide an overview of what's in the MCPS operating budget. This site will show you where our funding comes from, how it's spent, and how we staff individual schools to ensure we are meeting the needs of every student. Watch this short overview video to learn more...

What Drives the MCPS Budget?

What Drives the MCPS Budget?

The budget is the MCPS Strategic Plan in numbers.

The MCPS budget is driven by three factors that impact how and where we invest our resources.

Enrollment Growth

Enrollment in MCPS has grown by more than 22,000 students in the past ten years. The district receives additional dollars from the state and the county to account for growth each year.

FY 2020 Approved Operating Budget
Summary of Student Enrollment

Growing Needs

Growing Needs 2019-2020 School Year

Our 4 Support Areas that Improve Teaching and Learning and Provide a Strong Academic Program

Our core values of learning, relationships, respect, excellence and equity compel us to act and unite us around our goal - Academic Excellence for ALL.

View the FY 2017-2018 MCPS Strategic Plan

Where Money Comes From and Where It Goes

Where Does the Money Come From?

Total FY 2020 Revenue

Source Amount %
Local $1,726.9M 64.4%
State $759.8M 28.3%
Federal $82.0M 3.1%
Other $10.1M 0.4%
MCPS Fund Balance $25.0M 0.9%
Enterprise Fund $76.8M 2.9%

FY 2020 Approved Operating Budget – Revenue Sources

FY 2019 Approved Operating Budget – Revenue Sources

Funding the MCPS budget is a partnership, with funding coming from three main sources:



Tax revenue and other county dollars provide the most revenue for the MCPS budget—about 64.4 percent. However, that percentage has been falling in recent years.



More than a quarter of the budget (28.3%) is funded through state revenue. The percentage of the budget funded through state revenue has grown in recent years, particularly in FY 2020 with the passage of the Blueprint for Maryland's Future legislation that provided $24.4 million of funding to MCPS.



The federal government only provides about 3.1 percent of the money used to fund the MCPS budget.

What is "Maintenance of Effort"?

Maintenance of Effort (MOE) is a state law established in 1984 that requires every local government to spend at least as much per student as it did the previous year to receive additional state aid for education. MOE funding is calculated for a school year by taking the official K-12 enrollment from the prior year and comparing it to the official K–12 enrollment from two prior years. The amount of enrollment change is multiplied by the cost per pupil for the previous year to determine the incremental funding change required under the MOE law.

For Fiscal Year 2020, Montgomery County Public Schools received $9.5 million in additional funding from the county under the MOE law. This increase in funding for MOE was based on an enrollment increase of 954 eligible students (based on the MOE law) in the 2018-2019 school year compared with the previous school year. MOE is the minimum amount of funding the state requires the county to provide, but it is not sufficient to cover the increases in costs that MCPS—or any school system—incurs. For example, MOE doesn’t take into account basic cost increases for such things as utilities, textbooks, etc. The county provided $8.7 million more than the minimum required MOE in FY 2020.

Watch a short video that explains the MOE law and how it can lead to a budget shortage in educational funding.

Why isn't "Maintenance of Effort" Enough?

Why the MOE level of funding of $9.5 million did not provide sufficient resources for the FY 2020 budget

Enrollment Growth

Enrollment Growth and New School

Enrollment growth and new school required 141 new positions at a cost of
$13.6 million (excluding FY2019 non-recurring costs) in FY 2020



Inflation-related costs totaled
$9.4 million in FY 2020

Employee Benefits

Employee Benefits

Costs related to employee benefits had a net decrease of $11.4 million in FY 2020

Salary Increases

Salary Increases

Costs related to salary increases totaled $37.3 million in FY 2020

All combined, these additional requirements total $48.9 million, or $39.4 million more than the minimum funding provided under the MOE law (excluding FY2019 non-recurring costs).

Allocation of Staffing FY 2014–2020

Summary of Staffing Changes since FY 2014

  • Enrollment has grown by 12,840 students (8.5%).
  • Staffing has grown by 1,661.6 positions (7.9%).
  • Teacher positions have grown by 1,125.5 positions (10.5%).
  • Counselor positions have increased by 63.2 positions (13.9%)
  • Psychologist positions have grown by 24.5 positions (24.5%)
  • Social worker positions have increased by 15.4 positions (104.3%)
  • Pupil personnel workers have grown by 9.4 positions (20.9%)
View Allocation of Staffing FY 2014–2019
Where does the money go?

Where does the money go?

The vast majority of the MCPS budget goes exactly where it should—into the classroom and to services that directly support student success. Education is a people business and that is why more than 90 percent of the MCPS budget pays for the salaries, wages and benefits for the teachers, support professionals, and administrators who work with and on behalf of students every day.

Our Workforce

Our Workforce

The vast majority of our employees work in our 206 schools.

MCPS Employee Benefits Plan (EBP)

Like other employers, MCPS offers health benefits coverage to its current employees and retirees.

EBP is a mostly self-insured plan in that MCPS assumes the risk and liability to pay for the health benefits costs that are incurred by both employees and retirees.

EBP expenditures in FY 2019 are expected to total $474.1 million for active employees and retirees.

EBP expenditures are funded from the MCPS Operating Budget, active and retired employee contributions and rebates

Expenditures result from premiums paid to health care organizations, claims submitted by employees and retirees for health care services, and for administrative expenses.

How is my school funded?

How is my school funded?

As the vast majority of the MCPS operating budget pays for personnel and funds the instructional program in each school, a common question often asked concerns how schools are staffed. Specifically, how does MCPS decide how many teachers, administrators, and support professionals work in each school? How does MCPS determine which schools will be allocated additional staff to have lower class sizes compared to other schools? These and many other questions can be answered by reviewing the following materials.

MCPS funds its schools using four key principles:


Resources are allocated in an equitable, consistent manner in all 205 schools.


Schools that serve students with greater needs get greater resources.


The process gives building leaders the flexibility they need to use allocated resources to serve their students.


Everyone should understand the process and know how decisions are made in allocation of resources.

How Resources Are Allocated to Schools



First, we allocate staff based on enrollment. It means that a school of 600 in Silver Spring gets the same base of staff as a school of 600 in Damascus or Rockville or Germantown. For instance, every school gets a principal. Every middle school gets an assistant principal, as well, but middle schools that have 650 or more students get a second assistant principal. In elementary schools, staffing for teachers is based on guidelines for class sizes. For Grades 1 through 3, schools are allocated teachers to keep class sizes at 27 or less. So, if a school has 100 first graders, it will receive four teachers. If enrollment increases to 120 first graders, the school will receive five teachers.



Next, we differentiate allocations based on the needs of the students the school serves. Schools that have more students who are economically disadvantaged receive extra staff to lower class sizes and provide additional support and interventions. For instance, in our higher-poverty elementary schools, we try to keep the average class size for Kindergarten and Grades 1 and 2 at 18 students or lower. So, based on enrollment, these schools get additional allocations. If a school has a higher population of English language learners, they will receive additional staff to provide English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services. However, the process provides flexibility to principals to allow them to address the specific needs of their school community.



MCPS also allocates staff and resources based on programs. If a school has a magnet, a special education center, or some other type of program, additional staff is provided. It’s important to note that special education staffing is allocated differently and is based on the needs outlined in each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Watch a video on new school staffing guidelines
in the 2016-17 school year

See the K-12 Staffing Guidelines for Professional and Supporting Services Staff

See the Special Education and Related Services Budget Guidelines of Differentiated Staffing

A Real-World Example

Let’s look at the allocations for three actual elementary schools in MCPS, each with a similar enrollment but different numbers of students who receive English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services and/or free and reduced-price meals (FARMS), which is an indicator of poverty.

School A

  • 600 students
  • 6% FARMS
  • 37 ESOL students

School B

  • 615 students
  • 50% FARMS
  • 113 ESOL students

School C

  • 609 students
  • 82% FARMS
  • 317 ESOL students

School A has a very low percentage of students receiving free and reduced-price meals—or FARMS. They also have very few ESOL students.
School B has a higher needs student population and School C would be among our most impacted elementary schools. Let’s look at their allocations.

Allocating to an Elementary School

School A

(600, 6%, 37)

School B

(615, 50%, 113)

School C

Title I
(609, 82%, 317)
Kindergarten 4 6 6
Classroom Teacher 1-5 21.6 24 24
Nonteaching 4 4 4.5
AMPE (Art, Music, PE) 3 3.9 3.9
Clerical 2.5 2.5 2.5
Focus/AI 0 2.7 5.8
ESOL .7 2 7.2
Ed Assistant 3.75 6 5.1775
Total 39.55 51.1 59.0775

As the chart demonstrates, schools with more needs receive additional staff to serve students. Since students who live in poverty generally come to school needing more help with reading, Schools B and C are provided Academic Intervention (AI) teachers to improve literacy and academic outcomes. School C also receives significantly more ESOL staff since it serves a greater number of English language learners.

View Your School's Staffing Levels

NOTE: The 2017–2018 Schools at a Glance report provides staffing for every school in MCPS last school year. However, it is important to note that staffing is slightly different from allocations. A school’s staffing reflects actual staff in the school at a particular time during the school year. This can be impacted by enrollment fluctuations, staff departures or long-term absences, and other factors.

Nicola Diamond, MCPS Chief Financial Officer

Watch a video that explains how MCPS uses data and formulas to appropriately determine staffing allocations for each school.

Supporting Schools

Supporting Schools

There are many MCPS employees who directly serve students, but are not part of the staffing allocations that schools receive. Here are just a few examples:

Supporting Schools: Transportation


MCPS transports about 100,000 students to and from school every day. There are nearly 1,200 MCPS buses on the road each day, and most of them do three or four routes in the morning and the afternoon. The number of miles our bus drivers travel each school day would circle the equator more than four times.

Supporting Schools: Food


MCPS serves more than 15 million balanced, nutritious meals to students each year. More than 33 percent of MCPS students receive free or reduced-price meals, and the federal government provides some funding to offset the cost of providing student meals. However, the federal dollars do not cover the full cost of the meals. Our meals program is an "enterprise" account, meaning the revenue raised through meals is used to sustain and improve services.

Supporting Schools: Building

Facilities and Maintenance

MCPS has 206 schools for the 2019-20 school year and it’s up to the facilities and maintenance staff to keep those buildings looking good and working efficiently. This means keeping more than 25,829,517 square feet of space clean and maintaining heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) and other systems in the schools. When it snows, facilities staff gets to work early making sure parking lots and sidewalks are ready for students and staff as quickly as possible.

With the challenging budget times over the last seven years, we have increased the number of building service staff, but not at the pace we should have. For example, our building service workers are now responsible for cleaning 28,864 square footage of a building compared with 29,106 in 2009. The industry standard is about 19,000 square feet per person.

The Budget Process

The Budget Process

Developing the MCPS budget is a year-round process that involves many stakeholders and input from students, staff, and community members.

The Budget Cycle



Ensuring our work is aligned to our needs and our strategic goals



Working with elected officials, community, staff and parents to develop a budget for MCPS



Allocating resources in an equitable, transparent manner



Providing schools with the staff they need to serve their students



Ensuring we are getting a return on the investment that our community makes

Collaborating to Build the Budget

We don’t create the MCPS budget in a bubble—we work with many stakeholders and partners to create a spending plan that reflects our values and priorities.

Board of Education

The Board of Education adopts its operating budget request for MCPS at a February meeting each year. This is after holding public hearings to receive input from the community and meetings with MCPS staff to review the details of the budget request. These hearings and meetings take place in January. Final approval of the operating budget occurs at a meeting in June.

Employees and Parents

Our employees and our parents are an important part of the budget process. In fact, representatives from our employee associations, the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, Latino Student Achievement Action Group, and the African American Student Achievement Action Group serve on the budget committee that reviews office and department budgets and helps the superintendent build a recommendation.

Community Voices

The voices of students, parents, staff, and community members are an important part of the budget process through public hearings, written input, and other engagement opportunities. Each year, the Board uses this input to ask questions about and make changes to the superintendent’s recommendation. These questions are archived here.

County Leaders

Throughout the budget process, we work closely with the Montgomery County Executive and County Council on a budget that meets the needs of the school system. We recognize that our county lead text-centerers have many priorities, but we also know they recognize the importance of MCPS in securing a bright future for Montgomery County.

The Budget Timeline

Developing and implementing the budget is a year-round process.


  • August/November Budget plan developed, submitted, and reviewed
  • December Superintendent recommends operating budget
  • January Board of Education reviews budget recommendation, holds public hearings and work sessions
  • February Board approves budget request, submits to County Executive and County Council
  • March–May County Executive, County Council review budget request
  • May County Council approves final budget for MCPS
  • June Board of Education approves final budget

For more information please visit:
View the FY 2020 Operating Budget

Budget Feedback

Neighbor to Neighbor

MCPS Neighbor to Neighbor

Everyone is invited to host a Neighbor to Neighbor discussion. It can take place during a PTA meeting; a brown bag lunch at a local business or nonprofit; or in the home of a neighbor or family member. The group size is up to the host, but make sure everyone has a chance to participate.

Learn More about Neighbor to Neighbor

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