Board of Education President Issues Statement on County Council Operating Budget Action

May 19, 2011

Statement from Board of Education President Christopher Barclay on the County Council’s Action on the Fiscal Year 2012 Operating Budget

 “We are extremely disappointed that the County Council decided to, once again, take state funds meant for education and use them to balance its side of the budget. With this budget, the Council will have taken 90 percent of our increases in state aid meant to help poor students and used it for non-educational purposes. That is $144 million out of $160 million. This is unacceptable.”

 “We understand the County’s fiscal situation and we have been willing to work with the County Executive and County Council to address the budget situation. We agreed to support the County Executive’s budget proposal which cut $82 million from our budget request. We were only asking that state education dollars provided to MCPS to help us deal with our growing enrollment remain with the school system. Instead, the County Council is taking all of those funds meant for schools and using it to balance its side of the budget. The Council has stated that they support the school system and that its cuts will not hurt the classroom. That simply isn’t true.  Every school will feel the effects of these cuts.”

 “Over the past three years, the Board of Education and the staff of MCPS have made over $300 million in budget reductions. We have raised class sizes, eliminated hundreds of teaching positions, reduced our central office by more than 20 percent and eliminated Cost of Living increases for our employees for the past two years and steps last year. Because of our outstanding employees, we have been able to improve student achievement even during these difficult times. However, next year, we will be spending $1,500 less per student in local funding than we did in 2009. The Board of Education members are very concerned that these cuts will eventually undermine the tremendous progress we have made.”

 “The Board of Education will immediately begin working with staff to deal with the Council’s budget cuts.”

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