“Meeting the present and future needs of our school system was a major focus of Montgomery County during the General Assembly session that ended last night.
“To that end, we made significant progress and remain confident that we will ultimately be successful. I want to thank our delegation chairs – Senator Jamie Raskin and Delegate Anne Kaiser – and all of our senators and delegates for their support.
“The budget approved by the General Assembly includes $624.4 million in State operating money for Montgomery County Public Schools – the most ever. During my eight years as County Executive, State operating funding for County schools has increased 83 percent, from $341.1 million to $624.4 million. Also, during this same time, per-pupil State spending has increased from $2,473 to over $4,000 – more than a 60 percent increase.
“For school construction, Montgomery County has secured $262 million in State dollars over my first seven years, despite the Great Recession. That’s $60 million more than the total for the seven years before I assumed office. But, this is not enough to meet our critical needs.
“While the County’s proposal for a new source of dedicated State revenue for County construction – over and above our normal share -- was not acted upon this year, we have laid the groundwork for the future.
“Fortunately, all MCPS school construction projects for the coming year will still move forward. TheCountyExecutive's capital budget was structured so that MCPS projects for the coming year were never at risk, since the legislation proposed would not have produced any additional State funding until next year.
“Thanks to the great mobilization by the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, led by Janette Gilman, our School Board and Superintendent Starr, and the support from our legislators, we have positioned our new school construction proposal so it can succeed in the future. It took
“I am also grateful to Governor O’Malley for his commitment to issuing an Executive Order requiring an analysis by the State Inter-Agency Committee on School Construction of ‘creative’ proposals and matching funds to boost school construction funding. That will help a lot as we move ahead.
"We have won commitments from all three Democratic gubernatorial candidates in favor of our new school construction proposal.
“We have reached out to build a broad coalition – and a community of interest – with Baltimore County and Prince George’s County. I want to thank my counterparts Kevin Kamenetz and Rushern Baker for their leadership and for the support of their delegations.
“As Vice President of the Maryland Association of Counties I will continue to reach out to broaden that coalition even more.
“I will also continue to work closely with the County Council, our School Board and Superintendent, our delegation in Annapolis, our allies state-wide and our County families to make sure that County schools have the resources to meet critical needs caused by school overcrowding and have the tools they need inside the classroom.”