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MCPS Budget Shortfalls Expected for Next Year

Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr recently released his proposed FY2016 MCPS Operating Budget. Since then, many have speculated that it is very likely that MCPS will not be fully funded by the Montgomery County Council. The FY2016 MCPS Operating Budget would take effect in June of next year as the FY2015 MCPS Operating Budget ends.

The Montgomery County Council’s current $5.0 billion Operating Budget and its FY2015-2020 $13.8 billion Capital Improvements Program are exactly what they sound like – two very complicated records that most people find difficult to comprehend. MCPS is one of the largest services in Montgomery County by funding. Its $2.28 billion Operating Budget is around 3.8 times larger than the Public Safety Budget (at $598.5 million, the second largest service budget in Montgomery County). MCPS needs this money in order to provide and accommodate for rapidly-increasing numbers of students. Almost new 3,000 students enrolled in MCPS this year and the enrollment rate continues to grow every year.

This year, MCPS is still lacking money in areas such as professional development and STEM programs. Although the MCPS Capital Improvements Budget is one of the most expensive of all services, MCPS still does not have enough money to fully update physical assets, especially for school construction and renovation. School construction keeps getting delayed due to a lack of funding. As long as MCPS enrollment continues to grow, it is crucial for school construction to get under way.

Tthe Montgomery County Council’s FY 2015-2020 Capital Improvements Budget did include funding for the MCPS Technology Initiative, an initiative that implements many electronic components to students’ education. For example, all students have or will have their own MCPS Gmail account. Also, many schools now provide access to Chromebooks in certain classes.

However, many important additions or new schools to MCPS will take years– or sometimes decades– to be built if the MCPS Capital Improvements Program is not fully funded. At the end of the day, the issue of the lack of funding is also significantly due to Maryland not giving the county enough money. With Maryland facing massive budget shortfalls of its own, it is unlikely that Montgomery County will see a new increase in funds coming from the state level.

Article by the MoCo Student staff writer Omisa Jinsi of Churchill High School

Graphic by the MoCo Student graphic artist Natasha Campbell of Blair High School

About The MoCo Student

In 2012, Student Member of the Board of Education John Mannes created a countywide press network to help build a conduit to share fresh and relevant information written by youth to the wider Montgomery County student body.

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