by Tommi Makila
It’s school budget time again. The CEO’s proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2017 is ambitious, so it is likely that we will again go through a spirited discussion about the school system and its funding level. So that your participatation in the discussion is more meaningful, I recommend doing the following three things:
1. Read the CEO’s proposed budget. The school system’s CEO presented his proposed operating budget to the Board of Education in early December. This proposed budget is available on the PGCPS website, on the Budget and Management Services webpage. Even if you don’t read the whole thing (the full document is over 300 pages), at least become familiar with the parts of the budget that interest you the most. Or read the introduction to the budget, a much shorter document that gives an overview of the budget.
2. Attend the budget Q&A session. Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools (PGCABS) is hosting a meeting so that interested residents can pose questions to the PGCPS budget office staff about the proposed budget. The Q&A session will be held on Monday, January 25 from 6 pm to 8 pm in Room 114 of the Greenbelt Community Center (15 Crescent Road, Greenbelt). To submit a question(s) in advance of the meeting, click here (or send an email to email@example.com). Click here to submit questions about the budget . PGCPS budget staff will prepare answers in advance of the meeting. Emailed questions need to be submitted by Monday, January 18.
3. Comment on the budget at one of the Board of Education’s public hearings. The Board of Education will host three public hearings during which residents will have an opportunity to comment on the CEO’s proposed budget. These hearings will be held on January 19, January 26, and February 9 (all hearings will start at 7:00 pm) in the Sasscer Administration Building (14201 School Lane, Upper Marlboro). To sign up to speak at the hearings, call the BOE office at 301-952-6115. Each speaker will have three minutes to make his/her comments.
Our budgets show our priorities. I encourage everyone who cares about our schools to get involved in this discussion.