Superintendent Joshua P. Starr has recommended a $2.4 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 (the 2015-16 school year). This is a 4.6 percent increase ($103.6 million) over the current Operating Budget (FY 2015). An additional $23.3 million will be needed to replace one-time sources that the County Council used to fund the FY 2015 Operating Budget, including an account that funds retiree benefits. In addition, the Council will need to provide $22 million to replace the funds it used from the FY 2014 MCPS fund balance.
The FY 2016 Operating Budget represents the third year of a multiyear budgeting strategy that makes specific investments in areas that will allow MCPS to—
Most of the increase in Dr. Starr’s recommended budget will simply allow MCPS to provide the same services to a growing number of students—more than 2,000 per year for each of the last seven years. This includes the addition of more than 270 positions just to keep up with enrollment growth, including 111 elementary and secondary school positions, 96 special education positions, 41.5 positions to serve students who receive English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services, and 25 positions for transportation.
The increase also funds ongoing costs, including compensation increases for MCPS staff, benefits for current employees and retirees, transportation and operational costs, supplies, materials, and technology. Some of the budget increase will be offset by savings realized by expenditure restrictions Dr. Starr has put in place, budget cuts, and increased contributions by staff toward their health benefits.
Dr. Starr is recommending $8.2 million in strategic priority enhancements, aimed at narrowing the achievement gap and preparing students for the 21st century. Among the investments—