Based on recent projections, Montgomery County will need to close a $71 million shortfall in Fiscal 2014. However, these projections assume county employees would not receive salary increases and do not include potential increases in the county’s pension and health programs. As reported by the Washington Examiner:
Contributing to the deficit is the state’s Maintenance of Effort law that requires the county to give Montgomery County Public Schools the same level of per-student funding each year. Since enrollment has been growing steadily by about 2,500 students a year, costs are expected to grow, too.
The county’s budget projections take into account the growth anticipated in the schools. But if the schools request even more money than required by the state law, that could create a bigger budget hole. Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr plans to introduce his recommended budget on Dec. 11, according to MCPS spokesman Dana Tofig.
Montgomery County has had to make significant reductions to close shortfalls over the past several years.
Between fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2012, county libraries lost nearly 30 percent of their budget, the Department of Transportation lost 26 percent and the Department of Recreation was cut 23.5 percent.
County employees did not receive cost of living adjustments (COLAs) or merit increases during this same time frame.