Testimony Supports FY 2007 Budget Request

April 5, 2006
Text of April 5 Presentation by Dr. Charles Haughey to the Montgomery County Council

Good evening, Mr. Leventhal and members of the County Council. I am Charles Haughey, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education. I am testifying this evening on behalf of our Board to request full funding of our Fiscal Year 2007 Operating Budget request. We are pleased that the County Executive has recommended full funding of the Board of Education's budget request. This County Council has provided steadfast support in the past. For each of the last three years, you have funded virtually our entire budget request. Your actions as community leaders are a collective expression of community confidence in our school system.

The requested Operating Budget totals $1.8 billion and includes an increase of $124 million over the current FY 2006 budget, a 7.3 percent increase. If fully approved, this budget will permit MCPS to build on the success our students have achieved over the last six years and will build capacity for even more students to achieve academic success in the future.

The FY 2007 Operating Budget includes $17.3 million in improvement initiatives.

The following are highlights of our request:
-- Full-day kindergarten will expand to another 30 schools--thus completing the goal of allowing every kindergarten student the benefit of a full-day program one year ahead of the state mandate.
-- Support for special education will increase, including lower class size in learning disabilities classes and additional staff to enable secondary schools to include more special education students in the general classroom.
-- More translation services and other outreach will be offered to non-English-speaking parents.
-- Fifteen more assistant principals will be provided for elementary schools that have only a single building supervisor.
-- A total of 58 more building service workers will be assigned, including those added as a result of opening new schools.
-- Improvements will be made in high school literacy programs, including the addition of literacy coaches and a reduction of class size in core academic subjects.
-- Of the $124 million increase reflected in the budget request, $107 million responds to enrollment growth (mainly for special education and ESOL students), the opening of five new schools, salary increases, employee benefits, utility costs, and inflation; 89% of the total pays for personnel costs.

The budget requested by the Board of Education is based on increased community input and involvement. Key stakeholders, including our employee organizations and parent and community leaders, were included in every step of the budget development. Many valuable suggestions resulting from this input are included in the budget request.

It is unfortunate that despite our joint efforts to have the state fulfill its pledge to fund the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI), this is highly unlikely to happen this year. This leaves a gap on the revenue side of the County Executive's recommended budget. We urge the Council to identify sufficient local dollars to make up for the state's failure to fund the GCEI.

The members of the Board and school system staff stand ready, as always, to work closely with the Education Committee and with the members of the Council to identify and provide appropriate instructional resources to all our children. Thank you again for allowing me to testify tonight. Thanks for all the support that you have consistently given to the children of Montgomery County. I welcome your questions.

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