2021 | Schools

With improved revenue outlook, school board approves next budget, with increase

$2.8 billion budget gets final approval on Thursday

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The Montgomery County Board of Education on Thursday gave final approval to its Fiscal Year 2022 budget, which includes a $24 million increase from the current year.

An initial estimate of $155 million in revenue loss for the next fiscal year had the board concerned, but the financial outlook improved.

The budget for FY22, which starts on July 1, totals about $2.8 billion, an increase of about 0.9% from this year.

It is the culmination of “all of our stars” aligning, according to MCPS Associate Superintendent of Finance Dan Marella.

“This is the best possible outcome we could have hoped for. The fact we’ll be $24 million above the current budget, that’s pretty astounding,” Marella said, referring to the improved revenue projection.

The financial outlook was much bleaker in September.

At the time, Marella cautioned that the district’s next budget could take a significant hit, losing up to $155 million. That aligned with projections at the county level, which showed a significant loss in tax revenue.

In December, then-Superintendent Jack Smith proposed a $2.7 billion budget that was a decrease of about $42.6 million from the current budget. The same month, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced a state budget proposal that provided more funding than expected for MCPS.

The adjustments included providing grants for districts to offset what would have been a decrease in funding because of a drop in enrollment. MCPS’ official enrollment decreased by about 5,000 students this year.

The Montgomery County government also provided more funding than expected.

That allowed the school district to approve the roughly $2.8 billion budget.

According to MCPS, the budget focuses on:

• Increasing access to mental health services for staff members and students
• Providing additional support for students who have struggled during virtual classes
• Maintaining a virtual option
• Keeping staff members employed
• Deepening MCPS’ commitment to equity.