Montgomery County Board of Education President Shebra Evans and Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith released the following statement in response to County Executive Marc Elrich’s recommended Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Budget:
“We are in unique times facing an unprecedented challenge. We greatly appreciate County Executive Marc Elrich’s understanding of the need to face the challenges of today while planning for the future for our children and community. His recommend budget nearly equals the Board of Education’s requested budget and is more than $35 million over Maintenance of Effort. This investment is especially significant given the financial uncertainty our county and country face as we combat the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to remember that investments in our students now will ensure a strong future economy for our county that will thrive in good times and can weather crises. The County Council has had enduring support for public education in our county. We look forward to working with the councilmembers in the coming weeks to discuss how our operating budget will continue to meet the unique needs of each of our 166,000-plus students.”
In February, The Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt a $2.805 billion budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. This includes an increase of $124.1 million from FY 2020. The budget will allow Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to manage significant enrollment growth and focus on strategic investments to address disparities in student achievement.
The budget includes funding to expand and implement strategic key bodies of work. This includes:
- Additional English for Speakers of Other Languages teachers and counselors;
- The expansion of prekindergarten seats;
- Increasing exposure to language opportunities;
- Creation of three new regional International Baccalaureate centers to provide more access to rigorous coursework;
- Addition of mental health support staff to support student mental health and well-being;
- Opening of upcounty career readiness hub at the new Seneca Valley High School;
- Providing additional support for language and science, technology, engineering and mathematics programming;
- Equity and innovation initiatives; and
- An expansion and enhancement of teacher recruitment and retention efforts to ensure all classrooms have highly qualified teachers from a diversity of backgrounds.
- Additional positions based on student enrollment adjustments;
- Accelerators for Learning, Accountability and Results and Operational Excellence strategies;
- Blueprint for Maryland’s Future legislation-directed grants; and
- Additional identified savings.
The Montgomery County Council will hold public hearings on the county budget in April before passing a final budget on May 21, 2020. After the County Council’s action, the Board of Education will vote on June 11, 2020, for final adoption of the FY 2021 operating budget.