Board of Education Adopts $2.28 Billion Budget for Fiscal Year 2015

June 17, 2014
Budget makes strategic investments to narrow achievement gaps, manage growth, and prepare students for the future

The Montgomery County Board of Education on Tuesday (June 17, 2014) unanimously adopted a $2.28 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 operating budget for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). The FY 2015 budget represents an increase of 2.3 percent—about $51.3 million—over the current fiscal year.

The budget will allow MCPS to manage its continued growth, make strategic investments to improve teaching and learning, narrow achievement gaps, and prepare students to meet higher expectations.

“This budget is a reflection of our values and our unwavering commitment to MCPS students,” said Board of Education President Phil Kauffman. “MCPS has a national reputation for excellence and if we are going to sustain that excellence, we must be willing to make strategic investments that will ensure all students receive a world-class education.”

In February, the Board had requested a $2.32 billion budget—a 4 percent increase over the current budget. In May, the Montgomery County Council reached an agreement with members of the Board of Education and Superintendent Joshua P. Starr and funded a $2.28 billion budget. The Council's budget uses reserve funds to cover the shortfall in funding for school system operations. The agreement takes approximately $27 million from reserve funds used to fund future MCPS retiree benefits and applies it to next year’s operating budget. These funds will be combined with surpluses from the district’s general fund and health care accounts.

“I appreciate the commitment our county leaders are making to MCPS, its students, and staff,” Mr. Kauffman said.  “I look forward to working with the County Executive and the County Council to secure additional resources to meet our ongoing commitments in FY 2016 and fund MCPS in future years.”

The majority of the budget increase will allow MCPS to provide the same level of services to a growing number of students and will fund ongoing costs for compensation and benefits. The budget also contains about $12.5 million in strategic enhancements, including funds to improve student support services, increase technology, grow community partnerships, and foster teacher leadership. Several of these investments are aimed directly at narrowing the achievement gap, such as the addition of 15 high school Focus teachers to lower class sizes in reading and mathematics; additional staff to improve services to English language learners in middle school; and the addition of two prekindergarten classes to serve low-income students.

The budget also funds the new “Career Lattice” program, which will provide supplements to highly effective teachers who choose to move to or remain in high-needs schools. This is an opportunity to acknowledge effective, veteran educators and place them in teacher leadership positions.

“This budget will allow us to continue our efforts to ensure that our students are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the 21st century,” Dr. Starr said. “As we work together to narrow the achievement gap and prepare our staff and students for higher expectations, we must be willing to invest strategically and consistently.”

For FY 2016, MCPS anticipates needing at least $135 million to replace the one-time funding sources used for next year’s budget, to meet the district’s ongoing obligations, to keep up with its growth, and to continue to invest in strategies that will help MCPS close the achievement gap.

“I want to thank County Executive Isiah Leggett, County Council President Craig Rice, and the members of the County Council for providing the funds that MCPS needs to serve all students at a high level,” Dr. Starr said. “I also appreciate their understanding that the needs of our students will only continue to grow in the coming years and their willingness to work with us to meet those needs.”

Fast Facts about the Board of Education Budget 

Board of Education Item (June 17, 2014)

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