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School Board Approves $2.13 Billion Budget

Request will go to the county executive in March.

The Montgomery County Board of Education voted to approve a $2.13 billion fiscal 2013 budget request Tuesday, asking for a 2 percent increase from 2012.

The extra $41 million is the smallest request in more than decade, Superintendent Joshua Starr said, and will mostly go toward handling enrollment growth, covering employee benefits and purchasing materials.

The fiscal 2013 request includes about $8 million for employee raises, which Starr said is needed after staff has forgone cost-of-living and step increases for the past few years.

MCPS is asking for $1.39 billion of the total from Montgomery County, matching 2012's per-student spending of $9,759 per pupil. That number falls in line with Maryland's Maintenance of Effort law, which requires counties to fund schools at at least the same per-student rate as the previous year.

Board Member Patricia O'Neill said the budget is the "bare minimum," and President Shirley Brandman said that while the request is less than ideal, MCPS understands the economic situation facing the county and state.

"We believe this is a responsible budget given the current fiscal realities," she said. "With this budget, we hold the line steady on education funding as we maintain our current programs and services to a growing number of students."

At Tuesday's meeting, the board voted to amend Starr's initial budget proposal, which he , to include $603,000 for middle school hours-based staffing, a program designed to provide flexible support for special-education students.

Also added to the budget was $680,000 for and middle schools, which have not made adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind for the past few years. 

Next, the board will present its request to County Executive Isiah Legget on March 5, and he is expected to release his county budget later that month. The County Council will vote on 2013 expenditures in May.

Teressa Vassar February 21, 2012 at 11:50 PM
A bare minimum? 2.13 BILLION dollars for a county school budget? Is Patricia ONeal smoking funny cigarettes? These School Board members are in bed with Unions & that is where the increase in education spending is primarily directed at-NOT students. In a year this County has a massive deficit and few others in the private sector are getting raises, this budget is irresponsible. It is time to clean house on this Board of Education. They consistently squander taxpayer resources in favor of their political cronies. Students in Montgomery County do well DESPITE the School Board. They do well because their parents are generally affluent, educated and value education. Shirley B and Patricia O need to have a reality check.
Sean February 22, 2012 at 01:48 AM
If students do well because of their parents, is there really a role for teachers?

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