Teacher layoffs loom as Montgomery County passes $7.1 billion budget

Montgomery County leaders have passed a $7.1 billion budget after months of deliberation and public hearings, though there are ongoing concerns about education funding.

The final vote was held Thursday morning around the same time the Montgomery County Board of Education was in a closed session meeting, according to board documents.

The closed-session meeting was also addressed by Councilmember Will Jawando, who said he was concerned about the money allocated to public education. Although the passed budget includes the highest-ever amount of funding for Montgomery County Public Schools at $3.3 billion, Jawando said he couldn’t "in good conscience" vote on that portion of the budget with the potential of cuts.

"There’s a potential of 143 teachers that will be RIF’d, fired…that are teaching today, won’t be next year. Hopefully, that number will go down. 177 teachers who have been offered contracts for next year, those offers will be rescinded based on the budget level," Councilmember Jawando said. "If you take those numbers together, that’s 320 teachers. Some will be called back, some will be moved. Bottom line, a significant number of teachers will be gone. That will increase class sizes. People that we have offered contracts to will not be in the classroom next year if we don’t do something about this."

The $3.3 billion passed Thursday is 99.2% of the Montgomery County Board of Education’s request, according to Montgomery County Council President Andrew Friedson. Tough decisions had to be made in order to add $26 million to the school budget compared to what was initially proposed by County Executive Marc Elrich, Friedson said.

Montgomery County Council President Andrew Friedson

Friedson said some of the funding came from other priorities that were not considered as high as education.

"We funded nearly everything in the [education] budget. I think that is a level that allows the flexibility that allows the board of education needs to provide the type of education that our residents, families, taxpayers deserve, and now we have reporting and accountability language in the budget," he said.

Elrich said Thursday that there were other ways to close the gap in terms of what was requested by the board and what he proposed earlier this year. Elrich suggested using money from a fund used to pay retirement health benefits to county employees, known as "OPEB".

"We weren’t proposing anything unusual. We suggested they use the OPEB money, didn’t need a budget item because it was already in the school budget," he said. "In my mind, this is a much easier way to deal with this problem. Much easier than the way the council went about making their decisions."


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The Montgomery County Education Association’s president, Jennifer Martin expressed concerns over the budget. 

At a board meeting Thursday, a number of MCEA members showed up and tried to deliver a letter to the board urging them that layoffs and increased class sizes were not the answer if the board had to make decisions on a budget that wasn’t fully funded.

"It just is another example of the poor management in MCPS at this time. The lack of transparency, the poor communications, and the general disorganization that we are experiencing at the top. Meanwhile, our teachers and other staff are working very hard everyday in classrooms and school buildings trying to do our best for students," Martin said.

FOX 5 reached out to the board and MCPS multiple times Thursday for comment on the passed budget, but did not hear back.

MCPS reached out on Friday with a statement from Montgomery County Board of Education President Karla Silvestre and Dr. Monique Felder, Interim Superintendent, Montgomery County Public Schools on the FY 2025 Operating Budget. The full statement can be viewed here. 

The full budget can be found here