Montgomery County Schools Seek 2% Budget Increase

Daniel de Vise:

Montgomery County School Superintendent Jerry D. Weast released a budget request yesterday that seeks almost level funding for the coming school year, a gesture of fiscal restraint likely to be repeated across the region’s school systems in coming months.
The $2.1 billion spending proposal for the fiscal year that begins in July reflects a net increase of $40 million, or 2 percent, the smallest year-to-year bump Weast has requested in nine years as Montgomery superintendent. The budget assumes just $20 million in new local funds, all cost savings from this year that Weast would carry over as revenue for next year, and $20 million from the state, chiefly to cover enrollment growth.
“It’s a flat budget,” Weast said. It is the first formal fiscal 2010 spending plan for a major local school system.
Weast said he had to close a $176 million revenue gap to balance the budget. He did that by eliminating contracted cost-of-living increases for all school system employees and by cutting $36 million in projected spending across the 139,000-student system, shedding 300 jobs.