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Superintendent recommends $3.3B budget, up 3 percent from FY 24

by Judith Hruz


Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) recommended a $3.3 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2025 will maintain investments that support Board of Education priorities to advance student achievement in math and literacy, move forward with employee association agreements providing at least a 3 percent salary increase next year — supporting recruitment and retention — and investments to support school safety and enhance communication between schools and families.

Superintendent Dr. Monifa B. McKnight made the announcement during a Dec. 14 presentation.

The recommended budget represents a $157 million – 5 percent – increase over the current budget for Fiscal Year 2024.

The recommended increase includes $99.4 million to fund negotiated salaries and health care costs.

The Service Employees International Union, Local 500, the Montgomery County Education Association and the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals issued a joint statement saying McKnight’s proposed budget “has rightly prioritized fulfilling many of the basic agreements that are required to retain the highly qualified staff who work to keep this system going day in and day out.”

They added, “Doing so helps build trust among current and future employees that MCPS can be relied upon to stand by its commitments, and helps ensure we are able to meet the needs of our students.”

Now that federal COVID-19 pandemic emergency relief monies under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) program puts the district at a critical juncture, making the preparation of this budget more difficult, McKnight said.

The current year (FY 2024) budget relies on more than $125 million in investments and next year that funding will no longer be available, according to the recommended budget. She seeks to move $33 million in support for essential programs and personnel currently funded by these dollars to the base budget, such as social workers, psychologists, parent community coordinators and restorative justice specialists.

Other factors driving the FY 2025 Operating Budget are inflation costs of $15.6 million and funding to support the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future legislation at $8.2 million, according to the superintendent.

To meet those needs and maintain a prudent increase over this fiscal year (FY 2024), MCPS has required central offices to identify reductions of 8 percent of their operating costs for next year (FY 2025), according to McKnight. The required savings plans are estimated to realize $14.3 million and 73.6 full-time equivalent positions in reductions and will limit some functions due to loss of staff.

“Following a record local investment by County Council last year, we are seeking a fiscally responsible, but necessary, increase that keeps our commitment to staff for their raises and to continue to build on the targeted work we are doing for student academic achievement,” McKnight said. “The Board of Education rightly prioritizes math and literacy following pandemic losses and we have made sure our investments, curriculum and programs do just that. The future is bright for all of our students and that work remains our North Star.”

In the joint statement issued by the Service Employees International Union, Local 500, the Montgomery County Education Association and the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals, the employees say that “current and severe staffing shortages are exacerbating crushing workloads and compounding the diverse demands placed on educators,” and the shortage is “hurting our children, particularly those with special needs.”

The statement reads: “This year, we again experienced short staffing in special education, both for teachers and paraeducators. We still have unfilled positions in mental and behavioral health, services that our students so desperately need.

“The struggle to reduce chronic absenteeism and tardiness among students continues. Behavioral and mental health issues remain concerns.  Each year the number of students requiring special education services grows.  Our students needing English language support is also increasing.  Moreover, students who are impacted by poverty sometimes face challenges that impact their ability to experience academic success. “




The Montgomery County Board of Education will hold public hearings on the budget on Jan. 18 and Jan. 25.

The board will hold budget worksessions on Jan. 16 and Jan. 23, and a tentative third worksession on Jan. 30, before tentatively approving an operating budget on Feb. 6.

After the Board of Education approves an operating budget for FY 2025, it will be sent to the county executive and County Council for consideration. The County Council

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