Board of Education Tentatively Adopts Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Budget
The Montgomery County Board of Education voted unanimously to tentatively adopt a $2.78 billion operating budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. This is an increase of $24.3 million (0.9 percent) from the current FY 2021 budget. The budget will allow Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to provide a continuation of key services and reflects the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on operating costs and projected revenues.
“This budget is designed to advance equity and excellence for all students in MCPS,” said Board President Brenda Wolff. “The impact of COVID-19 on our school district requires us to request more than the minimum funding level required by the state law. This additional investment is essential if we are to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on teaching and learning and support the social, emotional, psychological and physical well-being of students and staff. The Board of Education looks forward to working with county leaders in the coming weeks and months to fund an operating budget for MCPS for FY 2022 that meets the needs of all students.”
The budget focuses on four priority areas for the school system:
- Maintaining critical staffing levels for students returning to MCPS
- Providing additional supports to combat learning loss and assist struggling learners
- Providing mental health and social-emotional supports for students and staff
- Making needed investments in technology to support continued virtual learning and innovation
The operating budget continues the system’s focus on students, classrooms and schools and is centered on MCPS’ core purpose of preparing all students to thrive in their futures.
In December 2020, Superintendent Jack Smith proposed a $2.71 billion budget for FY 2022 that was a decrease of $42.6 million from the current FY 2021 operating budget. Superintendent Smith’s budget proposal reflected an anticipated decrease in both state and local funding as a result of a decline in enrollment. In January 2021, Governor Larry Hogan announced his state budget for FY 2022, which reflected $69.2 million of additional state aid for MCPS. The state aid in the governor’s budget includes $29.7 million in hold harmless grants that will be available to MCPS if the local county contribution exceeds the FY 2021 local contribution.
The Board’s adopted operating budget reflects input from an array of stakeholders, including staff, parents, students and community members. The Board held two budget hearings and four work sessions. Following these meetings, the Board tentatively adopted the FY 2022 operating budget, including several amendments to Dr. Smith’s initial recommended budget.
These amendments include the following:
- $30 million in support of a 2 1/2-year plan that prioritizes how MCPS strategically uses resources to support the needs of students, staff and community as a result of the pandemic. It is centered on four areas of support:
- mitigating learning disruption;
- focusing on schools most impacted by poverty;
- providing well-being support; and
- digital learning and support.
This process includes engaging multiple and diverse stakeholders through the establishment of workgroups for each of the focus areas.
- $4.147 million and 22.0 Full-time Equivalent positions for targeted, strategic accelerators for key bodies of work. Highlights include:
- Increased funding for security, transportation and field maintenance for athletics, while also addressing issues of equity;
- Increased staffing to support the Learning for Independence, School Community-based and Extensions programs;
- Additional staff to support work-based learning programs, such as internships and partnerships;
- Additional staff for the Partnerships Unit to help with public/private partnerships for students;
- Additional building service workers to address increased space across the district; and
- Investments in network security, including firewalls and web content filtering; and staff for Help Desk and laptop support.
The Board will submit its budget request to Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the Montgomery County Council on March 1. County Executive Elrich is expected to release his budget recommendation on March 15. The Montgomery County Council will hold public hearings on the county budget in April before passing a final budget on May 20. After the County Council’s action, the Board of Education will vote again on June 10, for final adoption of the FY 2022 operating budget.