Montgomery County’s public schools and community college are among the finest in the nation. My highest priority is to make sure that they stay at the top by challenging all of our children to achieve their potential.
The County Council does not possess policy-making authority over the schools or the college. That authority belongs to the elected Board of Education (who oversee the Superintendent) and the Montgomery College Board of Trustees. Both institutions have great leadership and outstanding employees. The council’s role is to make sure that they have the funding they need to succeed, and we have delivered.
The Great Recession has imposed tough choices on every level of government. Montgomery County is no exception. Nevertheless, we have maintained our commitment to education. This year’s MCPS budget – $2.225 billion – is an all-time record. We are also spending an additional $125 million on school construction debt service, $84 million on school retiree health benefits, $53 million on school support services and $22 million on school IT modernization, over and above the MCPS budget. This year’s budget for Montgomery College – $280 million – is also an all-time record.
But we need to do more. Both MCPS and Montgomery College have growing enrollments. Many new students have special needs, including some who do not speak English as their first language. MCPS students who need free or reduced meals have been growing faster than overall enrollment for years. Enrollment growth and aging facilities demand that we increase our capital investments in both MCPS and Montgomery College.
I am determined to meet these challenges. Our schools, our college and our children are our most precious assets. If you reelect me, I will protect them.