PGCABS to Host Budget Q & A Session

by Tommi Makila

Budget season for Prince George’s County Public Schools is in full swing. The CEO’s proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2018 is now available on the PGCPS website. If you don’t have time to read the whole budget, consider reading the introduction, which includes specific changes in expenditures compared with last year’s budget (p. 16-19), as well as information on capital improvement projects (p. 20-24).  A less-detailed Budget in Brief document is also available.

Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools (PGCABS) is hosting, in collaboration with PGCPS staff, a question and answer session about the proposed operating budget on Monday, January 23 at 6:30 pm at Ernest Everett Just Middle School. This will be an excellent opportunity for interested residents to pose questions to the PGCPS budget office staff about the proposed operating budget. PGCABS hosted a similar Q&A session on the budget last year.

Questions about the budget can also submitted in advance of the meeting by clicking here (or send an email to pgcabschools@gmail.com). PGCPS budget staff will prepare answers in advance of the meeting. Emailed questions need to be submitted by Monday, January 16.

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 24, January 31, and February 7, at 7 pm. 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.

Speak up About the Budget

by Lori Morrow
 

100_3401The Prince George’s County Public Schools budget cycle began this past fall, with CEO Kevin Maxwell requesting public input in crafting the proposed Annual Operating Budget for fiscal year 2017. In a school system with nearly 129,000 students in 209 schools, the public submitted only 53 responses.

We all know that parents have opinions. We hear them at PTA meetings, school events, on social media, or from our friends and neighbors. However, sharing opinions with our friends is not enough. We must participate in the process. This year, the CEO is requesting an increase of $182.2Million over last year’s budget to support academic excellence, build a high-performing work force, and expand high-demand programs. After years of tight budgets, these are things our schools need to continue improving.

Getting involved may sound daunting and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be:

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Time to Pay Attention to the School Budget

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 pgcabschools@gmail.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.

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FY 2016 Approved Operating Budget Released

by Genevieve Demos Kelley

The Approved Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2016 is now available online, and the full document may be downloaded here or at the Budget and Management Services website.

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:

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