Tonight, I went to the MCCPTA Operating Budget Forum. Members of the Board of Education and County Council were present for questions about the Operating Budget from MCCPTA. It was a very exciting and interesting event, to say the least.
There was some debate between the Board and Council about meeting Maintenance of Effort, which I explained in my previous post today. Can we meet it? At the forum, Councilmember Leventhal stated that the council would be unable to fund MCPS at the level proposed in Dr. Weast's Operating Budget. This level is $10,664 per student, for a total projected contribution of $1.497 billion.
Members of the Board stated that meeting Maintenance of Effort is a requirement under law and is necessary to maintain the quality of education in Montgomery County, especially because we are projected to have an increase in enrollment next year of over 2,800 kids.
However, councilmembers also brought up several important points. The school system's current budget is around 57% of the county's, and Dr. Weast's proposed budget would bring the school system's operating budget to approximately 62% of the county's budget. Many other departments in county government will have to suffer cuts, including the library system. In addition, last year all county employees (except those in the school system) had furloughs.
As you can see, there's merit to both arguments. However, I do believe that the school system should be funded at Maintenance of Effort. In the end, this budget forum's really helped me to understand other points of view. It was informative, and I encourage everyone to show up to the Board's Operating Budget hearings on January 12th and 19th.