The Montgomery County Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt a $2.66 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. This includes an increase of $65.56 million from FY 2019. The budget will allow Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to manage growth, maintain high levels of achievement, and eliminate opportunity gaps.
“This budget will better position MCPS to support student success, close the achievement gap, and prepare all students to thrive,” said Board President Shebra Evans. “This is a schools-first and student-first budget. An investment in our students is an investment that will yield strong results for our community.”
A majority of the $65.56 million spending increase will be used to maintain services for a growing student population; manage increasing operational costs; fund ongoing salaries and benefits; and invest in key areas of work to close opportunity gaps and improve academic excellence for all students.
The budget also includes funding for key bodies of work that will strengthen the district’s efforts to improve programs; increase access to strong academic and career opportunities; extend learning; provide language opportunities; focus on physical, social and psychological well-being; hire and retain an effective and diverse workforce; and strengthen operational excellence. This includes $18.42 million for:
• Reducing class size
• Providing alternative pathways for graduation
• Adding leadership positions in schools
• Providing differentiated and program support to special education and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students
• Implementing extended year programming at two elementary schools
• Expanding prekindergarten programs
• Adding programs and support staff for student physical, social and psychological well-being
• Expanding dual-enrollment opportunities for students at Montgomery College
• Expanding the Summer RISE career exploration program for students
• Strengthening school safety and student security initiatives
• Expanding career pathways and professional opportunities for employees
• Adding technology improvements to support expansion of professional development platforms and support for schools
The Board’s adopted operating budget reflects input from an array of stakeholders, including staff, parents, students and community members. The Board held two budget hearings and two work sessions. Following the hearings and work sessions, the Board proposed and tentatively approved several amendments to Dr. Jack Smith’s recommended budget at its February 12 business meeting. These amendments total $1.32 million and include the:
• Addition of one Full-Time Employee content specialist position for physical education at a cost of $158,989 for salary and benefits.
• Addition of three Full-Time Employees elementary school counselor positions at a cost of $416,802 for salary and benefits.
• Addition of one Full-Time Employee English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) counselor position at a cost of $138,934 for salary and benefits.
• Addition of after-school activity funds for Focus elementary schools for a total of $50,000.
• Addition of after -school activity funds for secondary schools for a total of $50,000.
• Addition of one Full-Time Employee fiscal specialist position for the Board of Education at a cost of $183,120 for salary and benefits.
• Addition of one Full-Time Employee instructional specialist position to focus on reading and writing interventions for a cost of $158,989 for salary and benefits.
• Addition of one Full-Time Employee instructional specialist position for ESOL at a cost of $158,989 for salary and benefits.
The Board will submit its budget request to Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the Montgomery County Council by March 1. County Executive Elrich is expected to release his budget recommendation on March 15. The Montgomery County Council will hold public hearings on the county budget in April before passing a final budget in May. After the County Council’s action, the Board of Education will vote again in June for final adoption of the FY 2020 operating budget.