Competitive Salaries and School Bus Tracking Software Among Investments in Superintendent’s Recommended $3.2 Billion Operating Budget

Per MCPS: Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Monifa B. McKnight presented her Recommended Operating Budget for fiscal year 2024 (FY 2024) to members of the MCPS Board of Education, the school community, and stakeholders on Dec. 19th 2022.

“Our investments are focused on helping our students own the future by being college, career, and community ready, aligned with the Maryland Blueprint and approached through an antiracist lens. We’re looking to invest in accelerating instruction, expanding innovative programs that work, and ensuring that inflation does not stand in the way of delivering the high-quality services that are a hallmark of MCPS ” Dr. McKnight said.

Dr. McKnight’s $3.15 billion budget recommendation represents a $235.4 million increase—8%—over the current budget (FY 2023) and $267 million above the maintenance of effort requirement. The recommended increase includes more than $40 million realized in savings.

Investment Highlights:

Competitive Salaries to Drive Recruitment and Retention of Workers: In an effort to continue to attract and retain high-quality and diverse teachers and staff, a significant portion of the funding increase is for the cost of salaries for our more than 24,000 employees based on the negotiated agreements reached for FY 2023 and ongoing negotiations for FY 2024.($119.2 million)

Remove All Costs for AP and IB Exams: The budget also recommends that all tuition, fees and assessments will be free for students in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. This investment will ensure that cost is not a barrier to these advanced programs. ($3.4 million)

Establish Two Additional Innovative Calendar Schools – The innovative calendar or “year-round” schools have an additional 30 days of learning. Increased instructional time translates to increased engagement and more robust learning. ($2.5 million)

Add Seats in PreK and Early Childhood Education: The budget funds an increase for providing additional inclusive classrooms for prekindergarten children with disabilities. ($2.1 million)

Expand College Tracks Advisory Program: The budget expands the College Tracks advising network to five more schools through a $1.8 million investment. This will help more students have the necessary support as they navigate the college application process. ($1.8 million)

Introduce School Bus Tracking Software: The budget recommends an app that allows MCPS families to track their child’s school bus in real time. ($1.5 million)

Increase Dual-Language Programs in Three Schools: Expand dual-language immersion to three schools—two in Spanish and one in Chinese. At these schools, teaching and learning will occur in both languages. Students will be reading, writing and doing math in English and Spanish or Chinese. ($591,000)

Literacy Resources for the County’s Youngest Children: MCPS will increase partnerships with hospitals, daycares and outreach centers to provide more learning opportunities for the county’s youngest children. Early childhood literacy skills help to ensure children are academically ready when they enter kindergarten. ($100,000)

Operating Budget Timeline and Process

  • The MCPS  Board of Education will hold public hearings on the budget on Wednesday, Jan. 11, and Tuesday, Jan. 17.
  • BOE will also hold three budget work sessions on Thursday, Jan. 12, Wednesday, Jan. 18, and Tuesday, Jan. 24, before tentatively approving an operating budget on Feb. 7, 2023.
  • After the Board approves an operating budget for FY 2024, it will be sent to the Montgomery County Executive and County Council for consideration. The County Council will approve its final FY 2024 Operating Budget on May 25, 2023.

It is essential to keep in mind that this budget represents a recommendation offered during a snapshot in time. Given the uncertainties in final revenue from the county and state government, adjustments will likely be made before the Board of Education adopts a final FY 2024 Operating Budget on June 6, 2023.

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