The amount of aid for county schools proposed by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett in his fiscal 2014 county budget plan falls short of what's needed, Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr said Friday.
Leggett's plan calls for a schools budget of $2.23 billion—an increase of $65.8 million, or 3 percent more than the budget approved for the current school year.
"The County Executive's recommendation would fund 100 percent of the [school board]'s request," according to Leggett's budget proposal.
The proposal is a slight increase in spending for MCPS, to the level required by the state's maintenance of effort law, which requires that counties fund schools at the same level or greater from year-to-year or face a fine.
This marks the fifth consecutive year the County Executive has funded schools at the minimum level, Starr said.
"The [school] Board and I had asked for about one half of one percent (0.5 percent) above the minimum to fund efforts that would go directly toward narrowing the achievement gap and preparing our staff and students for the future," Starr said in a statement. "Our children get one shot at an education and to invest minimally in their future doesn't fulfill the values we hold dear in our community."
County school board President Christopher Barclay echoed Starr's sentiments, saying the county's investment in education has been cut by nearly $1,500 per student since fiscal 2009.
"Now that the economy has improved, I am disappointed that the County Executive has chosen to fund schools at the lowest level possible," Barclay (Dist. 4) of Takoma Park said in a statement.