UPPER MARLBORO – The Prince George’s County Board of Education passed a $1.93 billion budget request for fiscal year 2016 Feb. 24, a 7.6 percent increase from current fiscal year’s operating budget. Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) CEO Kevin Maxwell originally proposed a $1.839 billion budget in December, which would have been a […]
UPPER MARLBORO – The Prince George’s County Board of Education passed a $1.93 billion budget request for fiscal year 2016 Feb. 24, a 7.6 percent increase from current fiscal year’s operating budget.
Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) CEO Kevin Maxwell originally proposed a $1.839 billion budget in December, which would have been a 2.5 percent increase from this fiscal year’s. But after hearing the county’s questions and recommendations for some budget changes, he revised it.
“The question posed by members of this Board was, ‘What will it take to move the needle more quickly?’” Maxwell said at the meeting. “We proposed a modified budget to this board.”
The Board unanimously approved the budget request at its Tuesday meeting. The request is a $135.7 million increase from this current fiscal year’s $1.795 billion operating budget.
“After the incredible amount of work by the staff, and by this board, almost anticlimactically, we need to have a crescendo of music for that incredible event,” Segun Eubanks, the Board of Education chairman, said at the meeting. “And I want to thank the staff tremendously.”
Throughout January and February of this year, the board held three budget hearings and four work sessions to discuss potential amendments to the budget and ways to modify it.
The modified proposed budget tacks on an additional $91.7 million to be spread across several areas such as student achievement and literacy, more art program opportunities as well as gifted and talented program opportunities. The budget also includes allotted money to go toward technology literacy and expanding pre-kindergarten classes into several county elementary schools.
“The budget committee really helped to frame a vigorous discussion, and debate and deliberation on these budget issues, and I believe that we have now challenged the citizens of Prince George’s County and their leaders to take the next step forward in making this school system great,” Eubanks said.
The proposed budget will now move on to County Executive Rushern Baker III’s office for approval, and then to the Prince George’s County Council. Baker or the County Council could change the funding request. The request also could change depending on what happens at the state level.
Governor Larry Hogan’s budget proposal cut the state aid the county receives from the geographic cost of education index (GCEI) in half, resulting in a reduction of $19.7 million, according to PGCPS Chief Financial Officer Raymond Brown.
Brown told the school board last month the school system will lose out on $12.7 million as a result of Hogan freezing the per-pupil funding for the state’s Foundation program at the level for fiscal 2015. The school system will also receive $4.1 million less than the estimated after Hogan chose to delay the phase-in of the net taxable income (NTI) funding, keeping the funding at 40 percent instead of increasing it to 60 percent. In total, Brown said the school system will miss out on an extra $38 million.
Maxwell said he has not made any final decisions on where to make cuts because the budget process has not ended. However, he said $40 million equates to between 500 and 600 teachers.
The General Assembly could decide to restore the funding for NTI and the Foundation program, Maxwell said, and the school system will ask the county to make up for any funding it does not receive from the state. The county faces its own financial problems, Maxwell said, but he remains hopeful the school system will be able to fully fund its budget request.
“We look forward to that partnership continuing (with the state and the county),” Maxwell said.