The Montgomery County Board of Education meets for a work session about the proposed MCPS budget. Credit: Caitlynn Peetz

The Montgomery County Board of Education on Wednesday began digging into the proposed $2.8 billion operating budget proposal for the next fiscal year.

In a presentation, staff members for the first time outlined for the school board in detail the budget. They highlighted last week’s release of Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget, which included $3 million more in funding for MCPS than the school district was expecting.

“That’s good news,” MCPS acting Chief Financial Officer Dan Marella said.

That funding, if approved by the state legislature, could reduce the amount of money MCPS would ask for from the county government.

About $1.8 billion of the proposed $2.8 billion budget would be funded by the local government, according to Smith’s budget proposal. That’s a $72 million increase from the current budget.

The proposed budget would be about $47.2 million higher than what the district would legally be required to fund. School systems must provide per-pupil funding that is at least as much as what was provided in the prior fiscal year, a concept known as “maintenance of effort.”


The proposal, developed by Superintendent Jack Smith, represents a roughly $121 million increase in funding from the current fiscal year’s budget. About $84 million — 69% — of the increase is attributed to staff salaries, Marella said.

Contractual services would increase $14 million under the proposed budget. The cost of supplies and materials used by the district would increase about $6 million.

The budget includes nearly 15,100 staff positions across the district, including classroom teachers, paraeducators, building services workers and food services staff.


The school district is expecting an increase of 2,796 students for the 2020-21 school year. This academic year’s official enrollment — taken by the state in September — is 165,267, but Smith said the MCPS enrollment in early January was about 166,300 students, an increase of more than 1,000 in four months.

The school board will hold another budget work session next week. A vote to finalize the budget and send it to the County Council for consideration is scheduled for February.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at