County Council Votes to Reduce Pay Raises and Cut Class Sizes
The Montgomery County Council voted to approve a plan that reduces the compensation packages for unions that represent thousands of County employees including; teachers, fire fighters, police officers, and public service workers on Monday.
The current deal, which was renegotiated over the past two weeks, between the County and three unions, pushes back salary increases for County employees set for fiscal year 2017 to fiscal year 2018. The Council voted 8-1 approving the deal.
The Council also unanimously voted in favor of a $2.45 billion Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) operating budget that is $90 million more than maintenance of effort and also supported a plan that would eliminate a second step increase for MCPS employees.
The savings from salary reductions will go toward plans to decrease MCPS class sizes and closing the County’s achievement gap.
Councilmember George Leventhal noted that both the renegotiated County employee deal and MCPS plan are intertwined, “The fact remains that if Mr. Leggett’s negotiated agreement is honored for the County employees, the negotiations with the school employees will unravel and we will not get the reduction in classroom size. That is the fact,” Leventhal said. “It is not possible to honor some and not others,” he said.
Ultimately, the spending approved during Monday’s Council session is dependent on upcoming vote on the property tax increase and recordation tax rate increase, Councilmembers said. “We’re going to try and fully fund the construction needs of our school system, at the same time, try to fully address the school systems needs on an operating budget. It really is an education first budget,” Council Vice President Roger Berliner said. “It’s not without pain,” Berliner said, “I think this budget reflects a very good result that we can be proud of,” he said.
The council is set for a final vote on the fiscal 2017 budget on May 26th.