School Funding in Montgomery County
Once again, funding for the MCPS Operating Budget is in doubt. Both the state and county governments have recently revised downward their revenue projections. In addition, the newly elected Governor campaigned on a platform of cutting spending in order to cut taxes. This packet is designed to help MCEA Reps, leaders and activists understand the budget crisis – so they can better explain the challenges we face to friends, neighbors, and family.
While MCPS has a budget of over $2 billion, almost all of it is spent directly in schools.
Why is full funding in doubt? The County Council needs to find an additional $22.2 million just to back-fill for their use of “one-time” funds to pay for the current year’s budget. And an additional $85.8 million in local funding is needed to meet the proposed budget. All of this is above the required “Maintenance of Effort” funding level – and the County Council has been resistant to increasing school funding above that minimum required level.
In addition, the $34.4 million in state aid due to the “Geographic Cost of Education Index” is not guaranteed. Unlike other state education funding formulas, this is not written into statute and is discretionary in the annual budget. With the new Governor’s pledge to reduce spending, there are serious concerns over whether his budget will include funding for the GCEI.
Unfortunately, the County Council reduced local per-pupil spending by more than $1,400 per student during the recent recession. If they were funding MCPS at the same local per-pupil level as they were six years ago, it would mean $216 million in additional revenue annually – more than covering the request for next year.
The overall percent of the County’s budget that is being spent on K-12 education has been declining over time as well.
According to data compiled by the state, Montgomery County spends a lower percentage of its budget on K-12 education than most counties in Maryland. Montgomery County spends more in absolute dollars – because our county is big compared to others. But the facts clearly show that as a percentage of the county budget, Montgomery has spent less than most in recent years.
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Join PALS -The Political Action and Legislative Support (PALS) Committee is always seeking member involvement. The PALS Committee implements the political action activities of MCEA. It conducts one of the most thorough candidate screening processes of any organization in the county. Click here for details on the process and the criteria used by MCEA in evaluating candidates for public office. Members of this committee work year round to hold elected officials accountable and involve MCEA members ion political action year round. During the Maryland legislative session, the committee organizes lobby trips to Annapolis. Contact chair Nikki Woodward (Anzer_Woodward@mcpsmd.org )for more information.
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