Montgomery County School Budget
This year, Governor Larry Hogan (R) increased state spending on education in Maryland to record levels. However, you’d never know that listening to Democrats in Montgomery County who allege that Gov. Hogan doesn’t fund education and discriminates against Montgomery County.
Even the left leaning Washington Post’s fact check confirmed that indeed Gov. Hogan is spending record amounts of money in state and special funds on education. For 2017, $6.3 billion was budgeted, a 2 percent increase over fiscal budget 2016 of $6.1 billion, the same rate of increase budgeted by Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley. The operating budget highlights for 2017 states:
“We are putting $6.3 billion into K-12 education, which is about $140 million more than last year. We are fully funding education aid, including the Geographic Cost of Education Index. Our commitment to education does not end there. We are also putting forward $314 million for school construction, and we are allocating resources for important programs like P-Tech. The State’s investment in K-12 education, including school construction, has grown by $828 million during my Administration.”
Not only that, the University System of Maryland and Morgan State University have agreed to cap their tuition growth at 2 percent for their students due to the state’s investments. The Governor also increased by 6 percent ($314 million) State Aid for community colleges. Further, the Governor is spending about $8 million to fund programs aimed at ensuring college completion at these institutions.
In addition to those commitments, the Budget for 2017 also includes multiple financial aid programs ($124.7 million) for universities across the state. There is $1.3 billion in state funds for the University System of Maryland and Morgan State University will receive $239.9 million in State funds. Community Colleges will receive State support totals $314.3 million 6.1 percent increase over 2016 budged. Baltimore City Community College will receive $40.8 million in state funding.
He fully funded libraries, child care subsidies, reduced meals, and autism waivers. Moreover, Hogan’s administration allocated $227.2 million to support students with limited English proficiency. Hogan increased education funds for Montgomery County 4.4 percent ($663,860,000) and Prince George’s County by 4.8 percent. Not only that he also increased in the State Retirement System Montgomery County by 4.4 percent ($824,777,000) and Prince George’s County 5.5 percent. Moreover, the State Direct Aid (excluding the retirement) to the Montgomery County Government increased by 5 percent ($755,271,000). In addition to that Gov. Hogan proposed to demolish the Civil War era jail in Baltimore City and replace it with a new jail with educational and rehabilitation centers that would cost $480 million. However, Montgomery County General Assembly Delegation is not happy about it. They want Gov. Hogan to spend this money on the major development project at the Universities at Shady Grove in Montgomery County. The Universities at Shady Grove already has multiple state of the art buildings that only educate 4000 students as of 2015.
The total Montgomery County school budget for 2016 is $2.39 Billion. Montgomery County contributes to it 65 percent, State education aid comprises another 27.3 percent and the remaining is covered by Federal Grants, Enterprise Grants, fees and other sources.
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Interim Superintendent Larry A. Bowers presented his recommended $2.4 billion Fiscal Year 2017 Operating Budged to the Board of Education.
The budget reflects a 4.5 percent increase in new spending on the MCPS system. However, Montgomery County Executive I. Leggett (D) and the all Democrat County Council are underfunding the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) by $160 million. But at the same time the County has major development projects for government agencies. In addition, the County is seeking an Independent Transportation Authority that independently will tax people and seize people’s property for a major mass Transit System in Montgomery County that includes Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT).
Montgomery County is deeply in debt. As of 2015, the County’s net direct debt was $3,144,750,000 in the form of outstanding bonds. The bonds “are repaid to bondholders with a series of principal and interest payments over a period of years, known as debt service. In this manner, the initial high cost of capital improvements is absorbed over time and assigned to current and future citizens benefiting from the facilities.” Not only the debt is climbing, but officials use highly overvalued assets $167,311,891,416 to leverage the debt of $3,144,750,000.
The Montgomery County Council and the County Executive have been borrowing and underfunding Montgomery County Public Schools. This government has used the school budget as its own piggy bank and raided it to fund its operating budget. In 2014 the Council raided the budget for $22 million and took an additional $23.3 million in 2015. Unfortunately, the County Council has not replaced the $45.3 million that they took way from our kids, retirees and school staff. Now they are underfunding the school budget by $160 million while pursuing other priorities.
Montgomery County Public Schools will continue to be the largest school system in the state and student enrollment will continue to grow. County Executive Leggett in 2014 issued a statement that they no longer will comply with federal immigration authorities. Furthermore, recently he issued another statement to welcome unaccompanied children from the Central America fleeing socio-economic problems in their native countries. Interim Superintendent Larry A. Bowers recently stated, “We are experiencing our eighth straight year of record enrollment growth, adding nearly 19,000 students since 2007. To keep pace, we must expand existing facilities and construct new schools”.