Montgomery County Public Schools presents $2.7B budget request

Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools is asking for $2.7 billion for the coming fiscal year.

In the prerecorded message, Superintendent Jack Smith said, “Let me be frank: Planning for next year’s financial needs is unlike any year in our lifetime.”

The operating budget request comes in at $42 million less than the current year’s budget, but $40 million more than the Maintenance of Effort, or MOE, funding formula that serves as a floor for school spending.

The school system saw a drop in enrollment of more than 3,600 students, and that could result in a $39 million loss for the school system. The budget request is intended to serve as a cushion against that loss. At the same time, the school system has projected that between 2,500 and 3,000 students will return to Montgomery County schools based on its own research.

Other “additional areas of concern” for the FY22 budget include projected losses to state and county revenues due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smith also pointed to the fiscal impact of the veto of the “Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.” That legislation, often referred to as the Kirwan Plan, called for increased funding for education in the state. The Maryland General Assembly passed the legislation, but it was vetoed by Gov. Larry Hogan. Lawmakers have vowed to override the veto.

Every year, the proposed school budget is subject to review and revision by the Montgomery County Council as it works on the countywide budget proposal.

But Smith said the situation this year adds to the possibility of further revisions until a final vote by the county council in May.

The Montgomery County Board of Education then formally adopts the budget in June.

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