School Board Adopts Fiscal 2018 Operating Budget Request (VIDEO)
The Montgomery County Board of Education adopted a $2.52 billion operating budget request for fiscal 2018 on Tuesday, $64.24 million more than the previous year. Fiscal year 2018 begins July 1.
The board will submit its budget request to County Executive Isiah Leggett and the County Council by March 1. Leggett is expected to release his budget recommendation by March 15. The County Council will hold public hearings on the budget in April before passing a final spending plan in May. The school board will vote again in June for final adoption of the budget.
The budget, approved unanimously Tuesday, will allow the district to manage significant enrollment growth and build the foundation and structure needed to ensure that all MCPS students are able to achieve at higher levels, School Superintendent Jack Smith said in a memo to school board members.
In his memo, Smith said the request represents the culmination of extensive feedback on the budget he proposed in December.
The budget “reflects our core values of learning, relationships, respect, excellence, and equity. It defines a clear path to improved achievement for all and instills confidence that MCPS will fulfill its core purpose of preparing all students to thrive in the future,” he wrote.
According to a school system statement, a majority of the $64.24 million spending increase will be used to provide the same level of services to a growing number of students; fund ongoing salaries and benefits; and manage increasing operational costs.
The recommendation also includes $11.01 million in “strategic priority accelerators” focused on improving student performance while narrowing achievement gaps, the statement says. The accelerators are grouped by the five strategic priorities that Smith outlined at the start of the school year:
- improving teaching and learning;
- learning, accountability, and results;
- human capital;
- community partnerships and engagement; and
- operational excellence.
Additionally, the board’s adopted budget restores 35.5 full-time equivalent positions for reading initiative teachers in kindergarten through second grade. These positions had been realigned in the superintendent’s recommended operating budget, according to the school system statement.
Investments in these areas will allow MCPS to maintain programs; expand science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses and extracurricular opportunities; increase access to career technology education programs; allocate money to ensure that any student in Grade 11 who wants to take the SAT, ACT or a career certification assessment can do so, free of charge; provide training for teachers to hone their craft; provide professional learning for teachers and paraeducators on issues of cultural competence, implicit bias, and restorative practice; and implement a new data management system.