BOE approves $64 million addition to budget
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The BOE voted unanimously (8-0) Feb. 14 to approve the $2.52 billion operating budget proposed by Superintendent Jack Smith, according to an MCPS press release. The allocation marks an increase of $64.24 million from last year’s budget.
Much of the increase is to keep pace with the steadily rising MCPS student population—enrollment increased by nearly 3,000 students this year—and still offer the same services.
“The majority of the $64 million will go toward running schools at their current level,” MCPS spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala said. “That means continuing salaries and benefits and managing increasing operational costs.”
About $11 million of the increase will go toward “strategic priority accelerators,” which are intended to improve student performance and lower achievement gaps, Onijala said.
These accelerators, outlined by Smith at the beginning of the year, are grouped into five categories: teaching and learning; accountability and results; human capital; community partnerships and engagement; and operational excellence.
As for how the change will affect Whitman, assistant principal Rainer Kulenkampff said that any budget increase is worthwhile, especially as the number of students at Whitman increases. The student population just surpassed 2,000 students, he said.
“The school is growing,” Kulenkampff said. “We need more teachers and that money has to come from somewhere.”
The Board will now submit the budget to County Executive Isiah Leggett for consideration. Leggett will release his recommendation in March and hold public discussion meetings in April. The county budget is expected to be approved in May.