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Board of Education OKs $2.59B Operating Budget for FY19

The Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt a $2.59 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, on February 29. This includes an increase of $72.96 million from FY 2018. The budget will allow Montgomery County Public Schools to manage enrollment growth and build on the foundation and structure needed to ensure all MCPS students are achieving at higher levels.

“This budget builds on investments the county and the school district have made in recent years that reflect our core values of learning, relationships, respect, excellence and equity while managing significant enrollment growth,” said Board President Michael Durso. “It defines a clear path to improved achievement for all students and instills confidence that MCPS will fulfill its core purpose of preparing all students to thrive.”

The Board submitted its budget request to Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and the Montgomery County Council by Thursday, March 1. County Executive Leggett is expected to release his budget recommendation next Thursday, March 15.

A majority of the $72.96 million spending increase will be used to provide the same level of services to a growing number of students; manage increasing operational costs; and fund ongoing salaries and benefits.

Since FY 2009, MCPS’ enrollment has increased by more than 21,000 students, an increase of more than 2,300 students per year. It is expected that the district will continue to see significant growth and the additional investment is essential if the district is to maintain the quality of the school system and address the much needed work to improve the educational outcomes for all MCPS students.

“My budget recommendation focuses on the foundational elements of our district—students, classrooms and schools,” stated Smith. “This budget addresses increasing enrollment, rising costs and critical investments to both maintain the level of academic excellence our schools are known for and to close the gaps in access, opportunity and achievement for students who have yet to meet their potential.”

In his memo to the Board of Education about the FY2019 Operating Budget Smith wrote, “My recommendation includes an increase of $67.3 million and 166.224 Full-time Equivalent positions compared to the current FY 2018 budget to fund services for a growing number of students, the costs of operating the school system, and our strategic key bodies of work. Part of this increase is offset by savings of$10,761,420 generated by efficiencies and reductions. In addition, this budget assumes that the Montgomery County Council will continue to fund $27,200,000 from the county's Consolidated Other Post-employment Benefits Trust Fund to cover a portion of our retiree health benefits costs.”

“While most of the student enrollment growth in recent years occurred in elementary schools,” Smith wrote to the Board of Education, “currently we are experiencing dramatic increases in secondary school enrollment-a trend