The Prince George’s Board of Education will receive nearly $1.8 billion dollars in funding in 2015, more than half of the $2.85 billion operating budget passed unanimously by the Prince George’s County Council Tuesday. “The first priority in every county budget is education, and this budget is no different,” said Council Chairman Mel Franklin. The […]
The Prince George’s Board of Education will receive nearly $1.8 billion dollars in funding in 2015, more than half of the $2.85 billion operating budget passed unanimously by the Prince George’s County Council Tuesday.
“The first priority in every county budget is education, and this budget is no different,” said Council Chairman Mel Franklin.
The council designated 63 percent of county resources to the education system, a 6.4 percent hike from last year’s operating budget. According to Franklin the budget’s maintenance of effort funding is approximately $2 million more than required by state law.
“To bring the world to Prince George’s County we must have an education system to facilitate it,” Franklin said.
The funds were $6 million less than the Board of Education’s request but matched County Executive Rushern Baker III’s proposed budget.
The Board of Education originally requested a 6.7 percent increase in funding to account for growing student numbers and program demands.
This is the first time the school system has received a substantial increase in funding since Baker took office, said Thomas Himler, deputy chief administrative officer for budget, finance and administration for the office of the county executive.
Prince George’s Community College will receive $4 million more in funding than in fiscal year 2014. The budget allots $1.5 million for health care training and $1 million for job training for the MGM resort and casino set to open in 2016.
The council’s budget provides $100 more in funding for libraries than Baker’s proposal but is still 0.6 percent less than the libraries received last year.
Bigger pockets for infrastructure programs will go toward pedestrian safety, summer youth programs and economic development to create “jobs, jobs, and more jobs,” Franklin said. No county employees will lose their jobs or be furloughed in the 2015 fiscal year.
“We continue to face challenges in this fragile economic recovery,” Franklin said. “Together we have achieved a fiscal plan that addresses the priorities of Prince George’s County residents and stakeholders.”
The newly adopted budget also prioritizes public safety, Franklin said.
It creates an overtime budget for the police department after concerns of oversight and three new classes of county police officers caught the attention of council members.
Volunteer firefighter programs will receive funding for uniforms and equipment.
No citizens addressed councilmembers after the budget was passed, and no councilmembers spoke in the official proceeding.
“Bringing the world to Prince George’s county is a goal well within reach,” Franklin said. “Together we will move Prince George’s County forward.”