Superintendent Proposes $1.7 Billion Budget

December 15, 2004
Building on five years of significant academic achievement, Superintendent Jerry D. Weast recommended a $1.7 billion FY 2006 operating budget to the Board of Education Wednesday designed to ensure the continued success of all Montgomery County Public School students.

The FY 2006 budget focuses on new investments to reduce class size at all levels, expand full-day kindergarten, give teachers new technology tools to aid instruction, enhance special education programs, and continue hiring, training and retaining highly qualified employees.

Academic achievement over the last five years includes the highest SAT scores in the history of Montgomery County and Maryland with the greatest number of seniors ever to take the test. Academic achievement is apparent throughout the system. Second and third graders are among the highest achieving students on state and national tests, a record number of students are reading in kindergarten, and high schools are among the most competitive in the nation.

“We are demonstrating that when you hire top quality teachers, administrators, and support staff and give them the tools they need to do their jobs - good things happen,” said Dr. Weast. “Every day we are seeing our investments in our people pay off in the performance of our students.”

Dr. Weast said, “The FY 2006 budget is strategically designed for continued success well into the future.” Specifically, the FY 2006 budget includes an increase of $109.2 million over the FY 2005 budget. This reflects a 6.8 percent increase, which is a smaller percentage increase than last year and less than the average of the past five years.

As in past years, the vast majority of the budget (89 percent) pays for MCPS personnel. Administrative costs remain low, at about 2 percent, as more dollars are directed to the classroom. In fact, MCPS has the third lowest central administrative costs in the state and the highest percentage of dollars invested in the classroom.

Specifically, the $109.2 million increase for FY 2006 would provide:

· $26.5 million in improvement initiatives
o First change in maximum class size guidelines in 20 years - $9.8 million to add 175 teachers
o Acceleration of full-day kindergarten to 20 more schools, for a total of 93 schools - $2.4 million
o Largest investment in special education in a single year - $3.3 million
o Greater accountability measures and technology tools for teachers - $3.0 million
o Largest investment in school-based leadership support - $1.2 million to pay for a total of 18 new assistant principals
o Other initiatives to improve student achievement - $6.8 million
· $14.5 million for school growth and growth in special education and ESOL programs
· $64.7 million for employee salaries and benefits, as well as benefits for retirees
· $3.5 million for transportation, inflation and other costs

The FY 2006 budget will require a smaller increase in resources from Montgomery County taxpayers due to an increase in state funding. The Montgomery County share of the FY 2006 budget increase totals $68.7 million - a 5.6 percent increase in local funding compared to last year's 7.4 percent.

MCPS is scheduled to receive $38.3 million in state funding in FY 2006 - more than double the FY 2005 state funding increase of $19 million. The increased state funding is a result of the Thornton Commission changes in state education funding. MCPS also expects $12 million in added state aid from funding for the Geographic Cost of Education Index.

The Board of Education will hold public hearings on the FY 2006 budget on January 13 and 20, 2005, at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Carver Educational Services Center (CESC). Public work sessions will be on January 26 and 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Board Meeting Room of CESC. Adoption of the budget is scheduled for February 8.

Dr. Weast's community presentation on the FY 2006 operating budget will be broadcast throughout December on Instructional Television, Channel 34, beginning on December 16 at the following times:

Mondays at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m.
Thursdays at 9:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and 9:00 p.m.
Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:00 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m.

<<Back to browse