Montgomery Council: Schools’ 2014 budget request about $10M over requirement -- Gazette.Net


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Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starrís preliminary request for next budget year, to be announced Tuesday, is about $10 million over the amount the county is required to provide under state law, Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro said Monday.

Although the numbers are preliminary, Navarro (D-Dist. 4) of Silver Spring said the council is hesitant and concerned about approving a budget above the required amount.

ďThere is concern about the stress and pressure that it will put on the other county agencies,Ē she said.

Dana Tofig, schools spokesman, declined to confirm the numbers.

The state maintenance of effort law dictates a county fund its school system at the same amount per pupil as the previous year. The county government supplied about $1.42 billion of the school systemís total $2.16 billion budget this budget year, or about 65.7 percent.

The budget for next fiscal year, fiscal 2014, which begins July 1, will be finalized in the spring.

Councilwoman Valerie Ervin, chair of the councilís education committee, said it is possible that the school system is low-balling state aid, but it is too early to tell and it is ďvery irresponsible to be making comments about a budget we have not seen.Ē

ďI wish my colleagues wouldnít begin to flex their muscles over numbers they donít know yet,Ē Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring.

Starr told parents at a meeting a few weeks ago that the County Council has indicated it will not approve a budget above MOE.

Ervin said in September that the councilís education committee will be monitoring the school systemís spending more carefully, after she and other council members disagreed with its decision this summer to give employees a base pay raise and some employees two step increases.

She said Monday that she and Navarro met with Starr on Friday to take a look at the basics of the budget, which exceeds the minimum by about a half percent of the school systemís total budget, or about $10 million, she said.

Navarro said she was interested in seeing what types of positions would be restored and what problems the superintendent planned to address in the budget.

jbondeson@gazette.net