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Posted at 11:04 AM ET, 12/15/2010

Montgomery schools chief unveils budget

By Michael Birnbaum

Montgomery County schools Superintendent Jerry D. Weast opened what is likely to be a contentious budgeting season Wednesday morning by proposing a budget increase that is the minimum required by a state law.

But the proposal, a budget of $2.16 billion for fiscal 2012 -- an increase of $60 million over current levels -- is unlikely to survive all the way to spring, when it is finalized. This year the county obtained a waiver to fund schools below state minimums, and County Council President Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring) called for a change to the law Monday.

Montgomery expects enrollment to grow by more than 3,300 students next year, up to more than 147,000 total, so even a flat budget would require cuts somewhere. Enrollment growth in ordinary times means having to hire more teachers and support staff to maintain class sizes and services.

By Michael Birnbaum  | December 15, 2010; 11:04 AM ET
Categories:  Education, Maryland  
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