Montgomery County Board of Education members discussed the “difficult choices” they face paying for programs after the Montgomery County Council’s adoption of Fiscal Year 2024 budget.
Montgomery County Public Schools will receive $74.3 million less than it requested.
While MCPS will receive the most money ever from the County Council, it needs additional funds due to increasing enrollment, inflation and salary increases. MCPS’ FY 2025 budget looks even grimmer as one-time federal grants will expire by then as BOE members stressed at their Thursday business meeting.
“Next year’s fiscal cliff is looming on the horizon,” said Superintendent Monifa McKnight.
Regardless of any fiscal reductions, “We will honor our negotiated contracts, and we will not raise class size,” McKnight vowed. However, she added, “Out of necessity, some things must go.”
Some reductions slow down or eliminate plans to add additional schools to a year-round school year and to the college track program.Others impact items like elimination of one additional professional development day per teacher.
Efforts to hire more staff, help ELS students and strengthen math and literacy instruction will not be reduced, McKnight said.
To help make ends meet, MCPS is taking money from federal Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Funds and reallocating to high priority budget items. These federal funds are due to expire in September 2025, so the district will have to seek alternative ways to keep these items going in the future.
Currently, district officials believe this will create a $197 million gap in funding for FY 2025.
“We literally just kind of kicked the can down the road,” said BOE member Grace Rivera-Oven.
The district’s budget requests to the County Council were divided into three categories, $206.6 million for employee compensation and benefits; $45.5 million for enrollment increase; and $268 million for math and literacy instruction, security and HR.
The district expects an increase of 2,000 students in the next school year and another 1,000 in the following year.
BOE members will vote to adopt the school budget on June 6.