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Superintendent Recommends $2.13 Billion Operating Budget for Next Fiscal Year
- Class sizes have increased about one student per classroom, on average;
- Employees have agreed to forego cost-of-living increases for three consecutive years and step increases for the past two years, saving $144 million;
- More than 1,300 positions have been eliminated, mostly teachers and staff who directly support instruction;
- Mid-year savings of about $73 million have been realized through hiring freezes and expenditure restrictions; and
- The central services budget has been reduced by more than 20 percent.
Despite these reductions, MCPS students have continued to achieve at very high levels. For instance, the Class of 2011 was one of the most successful in the district’s history, with an average SAT score of 1637 and half of the graduates receiving a college-ready score on at least one Advanced Placement (AP) exam. Last year’s graduates also earned more than $264 million in college scholarships, and 89 seniors were named National Merit Scholars.
“Our employees have not allowed diminishing resources to serve as an excuse or an obstacle to student success and they are to be congratulated,” said Dr. Starr. “We must recognize their effort and their sacrifice, so we can continue to have, simply put, the best public school staff in the nation.”
To that end, the superintendent’s budget recommendation includes funds for step and longevity increases and reserves $8 million for other compensation, depending on the outcome of ongoing contract negotiations with the MCPS employee associations. Negotiations are expected to conclude in the spring.
Maintain and Focus Resources
Dr. Starr’s recommendation meets the state’s maintenance of effort—or MOE—requirement, which mandates that the county funds education at the same per-student level from one year to the next. The county has not met MOE for three years and, since FY 2009, has reduced its per-student funding by $1,490 per child.
“While I understand the circumstances facing the county, we cannot continue to absorb these types of cuts without risking the quality and high performance our community has come to demand,” Dr. Starr said.
The 2 percent increase—$41.4 million—proposed by Dr. Starr is made up mostly of funds for enrollment growth ($14.1 million); employee benefits and insurance costs ($15.1 million) and inflation, materials and other expenses ($9.9 million). Dr. Starr’s budget recommendation also plans for $8.1 million in budget efficiencies and reductions, including the elimination of the equivalent of 18 positions in central office and 6 positions in transportation. Dr. Starr is not recommending any cuts to school-based staff.
Only about $23 million of this increase would come from the county, a 1.7 percent increase that matches the rate of expected enrollment growth in FY 2013.
Because the county did not meet MOE this fiscal year (FY 2012) and did not seek a waiver from the provision, the state is expected to withhold $26 million in state aid for FY 2013 as a penalty. Dr. Starr said he expects the county to restore that money to the school budget.
Dr. Starr said over the next year, he and the staff of MCPS will focus on improvement in three major areas: professional development for all employees; academic interventions for all students; and community engagement. Dr. Starr said the main focus will be on ensuring that the district’s current efforts are strategic, coherent and efficient.
“I am not requesting any more funds for these three important areas because we must first make sure we are using our current resources well,” said Dr. Starr. “I have a sacred trust with the taxpayers to make sure the funds they have entrusted to our system are being maximized, and I take that trust very seriously.”
MCPS Budget Website
Summary of Budget Changes
Superintendent's Recommended FY 2013 Budget
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