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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice comments on the FY20 Recommended Operating Budget

For Immediate Release: Friday, March 15, 2019

From the Office of Councilmember Craig Rice

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 15, 2019—Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice made the following comments today after County Executive Marc Elrich transmitted his $5.7 billion Fiscal Year 2020 Recommended Operating Budget to the Council:   

“For the past three years, this County has been proud to say that we have put forth ‘education first’ budgets.  These budgets fully funded the Montgomery County Board of Education’s requests and supported Montgomery College to the extent practicable.  It is with great regret that I can’t say the same about this year’s recommended budget. In fact, I believe that it’s exactly the opposite.  It puts education last.  This recommended budget jeopardizes many of the children and adults in our community who need the most help.  

“The County Executive’s proposed budget represents a divestment in education both at the K-12 and higher education levels.  This will endanger the great progress we have made in reducing the opportunity and equity gap in our schools. Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and Montgomery College are experiencing an all-time high level of diversity that makes these recommendations even more troubling.    

“I spent the last two and a half years working on the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education to advocate for more funding for our schools, so that principals, teachers and support staff can dive into the process of creating true equity for all students.  Local jurisdictions relying on state money that is intended for this purpose to instead support day-to-day operations of the school system destroys the fidelity of the Commission’s recommendations.  It also dismisses the work of those serving on the Commission.  

“The Executive’s recommendation is $3.1 million below the College’s request. This reduction could hamper their ability to expand critical services to address the achievement and opportunity gap and could result in additional tuition increases that impact affordability.  

“The Executive's recommended budget for MCPS is $12.4 million below the Board of Education's request. While final decisions on how to allocate any ultimate reductions fall to the Board, the following program and service enhancements may be at risk:  

  • $3.6 million and 52.9 positions to reduce elementary school class size guidelines.
  • $3.4 million and 44.7 positions for additional support for special education students.
  • $1.4 million and 20.6 positions for additional support for ESOL students. 
  • $844,000 and six positions for additional elementary school assistance principals.
  • $1.3 million and six positions requested as priorities by the Board to add elementary school counselors, an ESOL counselor, instructional specialist positions focusing on ESOL and reading and writing interventions, an adaptive physical education content specialist, and after-school activity funds for elementary and secondary schools.  

“Working with my colleagues on the Education and Culture Committee, the full Council and education advocates, I hope to do our work to restore funding for the education priorities that are incredibly important.  If we are to truly focus on a County Racial Equity and Social Justice Policy that makes strides in advancing so many who have been left behind in our community, the County Executive’s budget just doesn’t cut it.  

“The expedient thing to do would be to look past these inequities and focus on the overall good that a large portion of this budget represents, but I can’t do that. Leaving our children behind is something I just can’t do.  I am issuing a call to action for all those who care about equity and want to see our schools and our children have better results to demand that we fully fund the budget for MCPS and Montgomery College.”  

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Release ID: 19-098
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926 , Juan Jovel 240-777-7931