by Genevieve Demos Kelley
Though the $1.833 billion budget approved by the County Council is significantly smaller than the budget requested by the Board of Education in February, it represents a $37.8 million increase over the previous year’s $1.795 billion operating budget. But the number of students enrolled in the school system is also growing: The projected K-12 enrollment for the coming school year is 124,842, an increase of about 3,000 students compared with last year. The calculated K-12 “Cost Per Pupil” will actually slightly decline compared with last year, from $14,019 to $13,883 (see p. 36 of the full budget document)
Several budget categories will see increases or decreases in spending, when compared with the esimated expenditures from FY 2015(see p. 46 of the budget). Of all categoires, Instructional Salaries will see the greatest increase (about $29 million). The Textbooks and Instructional Materials category will see the greatest drop in spending ($10.4 million), followed by Administration ($6.7 million).
The Board of Education’s Citizens Letter, dated July 1, touted this list of new and expanded programs for PGCPS students:
- Two International schools will become a reality and provide a supportive learning environment for 200 English Language Learner students in its first year. One school, Prince George’s International Academy, will be housed within Largo High School; the other, International High School at Langley Park, will be temporarily housed at the Annapolis Road Academy until a permanent site is determined.
- We are continuing the expansion of our World Language programs, including French, Chinese, and Spanish immersion programs.
- We have expanded the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program offerings to our middle school students at Oxon Hill and Thomas Johnson.
- Our successful Montessori program will be expanded at the Judith P. Hoyer Montessori School.
- Our focus on early childhood education is supported by the opening of 10 new prekindergarten sites and the Kenmoor Early Childhood Center by repurposing the existing Kenmoor Elementary School, which closed in June 2015.
- Expanding the Dual Enrollment Program where students can attain college credit simultaneously with high school credit, at little to no cost to the student.