As School Enrollment Surges, Montgomery Co. Superindent Seeks Budget Increase

WASHINGTON — Acknowledging that Montgomery County Public Schools are “bursting at the seams,” local leaders are gearing up for what promises to be a long, hard budget process.

Superintendent Jack Smith is asking county leaders for a 2.5 percent increase for the fiscal 2018 operating budget compared with FY 2017.

After nearly a decade of yearly enrollment growth exceeding 2,000, the school system is expected to grow next year by as many as 3,600 students.

“That’s more than most public school systems in the country — total,” Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner said. “It’s a big deal.”

Early next year, the council will begin to review budget proposals from County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett.

“The state is telling us that revenues are not looking so pretty,” Berliner said. “It’s not going to be an easy budget year for us.”

Berliner suggested that adjustments be made to Maryland’s capital construction program, to boost state contributions to local school systems across the state.

“Make sure that there’s enough money for everybody in Maryland, so that Montgomery County gets what it needs, because our school system is bursting at the seams,” Berliner said.

“How we at the end of the day reconcile the absolute needs of our school system with everything else that our county has to fund, it’s too early in the day to speak to.”

The new fiscal year begins in July. The Montgomery Board of Education is expected to begin budget hearings next month.

You can review and comment on the recommended budget using the school system’s website.

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