Montgomery County Schools Consider Legal Action Over County Budget Cuts

A May 20 Gazette.net article discusses the ongoing threat by the Montgomery County Public School System to sue the County over $45 million in cuts to the school system’s proposed budget.  The Montgomery County Council’s final operating budget provides for $4.4 billion, a 2.2 percent increase over FY 2011.  School aid also increased over its FY 2011 total but includes a $45 million reduction supported by the Council and County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett, who believe school employees and teachers should contribute more towards their health care and retirement costs.  The Council and County Executive do not believe the reduction to the increase in aid will affect student performance.

Of the county’s fiscal 2012 budget, $1.37 billion in county tax dollars will go to schools.

Including state funding, total tax dollars spent on schools in fiscal 2012 will be $1.95 billion — 55.9 percent of all tax-supported funding in the county.

The county spent $1.415 billion on Montgomery County Public Schools in fiscal 2011.  …

Montgomery School Board President Christopher S. Barclay (Dist. 4) called the decision unacceptable and said the council’s claims that the cuts will not affect students are false.

“Every school will feel the effects of these cuts,” he said.

The school board has argued that cuts could harm the academic progress of students.

Barclay said the school board is awaiting a ruling from the Maryland State Board of Education on a petition the local school board filed earlier this year. The petition asked the state board to rule that the County Council does not have the authority to cut its budget.

The state board could announce its decision Wednesday — the day before the council formally adopts its budget.

In response to the reduction, Superintendent of Schools Jerry Weast has released a new school budget that proposes the elimination of 155 non-teaching postions.  Further information can be obtained from this May 23 Gazette.net article.

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