2020 | Schools

School Notes: School board to discuss budget, anti-racism audit on Monday

Plus: Montgomery College receives $500,000 to support Presidential Scholars Program; Capital budget presentation on Oct. 26

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School board to discuss budget, anti-racism audit on Monday

The Montgomery County Board of Education will discuss the current and next year’s budget during a work session on Monday.

The work session is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. and run until 3:30 p.m. Staff reports for the meeting were not available Thursday afternoon.

School district officials have said they expect the next budget cycle, for Fiscal Year 2022, to be one of the most difficult in recent memory as local, state and federal governments struggle amid the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. MCPS’ enrollment is down more than 4,000 students from last year, which will decrease the amount of funding the county government is required to provide.

The school board will also discuss its ongoing anti-racist system audit, intended to evaluate “all aspects” of the school district to find ways to be more inclusive of minority students.

Montgomery College receives $500,000 to support Presidential Scholars Program

Montgomery College on Thursday announced it had received $500,000 from Westat to support its Presidential Scholars Program.

The program, open to all students, assists students pursuing degrees by providing financial, academic and mentoring support.

“The Presidential Scholars Program, which is open to all students, assembles a concentration of ambitious and diverse students in a tight-knit learning community, providing all participants with the support, inspiration, and encouragement needed to achieve their full potential,” according to a press release from the college.

Rockville-based Westat provides professional services that help clients improve outcomes in health, education, social policy and transportation, the release said.

Capital budget presentation will be Oct. 26

Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith will unveil his recommended capital budget for Fiscal Year 2022, and his recommended capital improvements plan for Fiscal Years 2022-2027, during a school board work session on Oct. 26.

The capital budget and capital improvement plan (CIP) both set the school district’s construction agenda.

The meeting on Oct. 26 will begin at 11 a.m. and last until 3 p.m., according to an agenda posted online.

The current CIP and capital budget total about $1.82 billion, and include 17 addition or expansion projects and four new schools.

For years, MCPS’ construction plans have largely focused on projects to ease crowding at schools across the district as enrollment grew. MCPS enrollment grew steadily each year for more than a decade, but is down this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Most of the enrollment decrease is attributed to pre-kindergarten programs and elementary schools, according to MCPS officials.

The school board will hold several meetings and public hearings through the winter about the construction plans, before sending its request to the county government for consideration.