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Rice Urges Residents to Advocate for State Education Funding at Education Budget Forum



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Hours after County Executive Isiah Leggett presented his operating budget for fiscal year 2016 on Monday, March 16– a budget which fell short of the funding total asked for by the Board of Education -- Councilman Craig Rice held a Budget Forum focusing on shortfalls and concerns associated County’s education budget. Rice was joined by interim Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Larry A. Bowers and DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College.

The event, held at Kingsview Middle School in Germantown, was the fourth of five budget forums Rice has been holding throughout the county to shed light on the important issues surrounding the MCPS and Montgomery College budget issues.

Rice addressed an audience of roughly 50 people, many of whom were MCPS employees, and talked about Supplemental Public School Construction Matching Fund Program, which is Maryland State Senate Bill 228. The bill introduced in February by nine Democratic state senators, would have the State pay for public school construction projects at a ratio of $1 of state funding for every $2 of county funding. Montgomery County would qualify for based on the size of the school system and the County’s AAA bond rating.

“We are going to have to start looking at different ways in which we are going to be doing things in we are never going to receive the true amount of funding necessary to meet the needs of our current school system,” said Rice. “And that means looking at schools differently, looking at boundary areas differently, looking at all kinds of things to get our heads around what this might mean for us.”

In February, the Board of Education approved a Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Budget Request that includes a four percent increase in spending compared with this year’s budget. The Board’s $2.39 billion operating budget request accounts for a cut in state aid and includes savings.

“These numbers are not significant increases,” said Rice. “This is not recognizing that Montgomery County Schools are trying to do more with less. This is just keeping us consistent. And the Board of Education already done its part by reducing its request by $10 million. Our school system is trying to whatever it can with the resources it has, but it needs help. The help has to come from the State and some has to come from the County as well.”


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Leggett’s budget which was introduced earlier this week includes $2.2 billion i