Blair hosts Educational Forum

April 16, 2024, 10:33 p.m. | By Alexander Liu | 2 months ago

Prominent county officials discussed the FY25 budget

Board Forum Speakers Photo courtesy of Alexander Liu.

On April 26, Montgomery Blair hosted the second Education Forum, led by Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando. He was joined by Montgomery College President Dr. Jermaine Williams, as well as MCPS Interim Superintendent Dr. Monique Felder to discuss the new budget for the fiscal year 2025. 

Throughout the forum, the three speakers answered questions posed by the audience in person, as well as questions which were presubmitted online. Throughout the questioning, many parents and community members expressed concern at the lack of systemic programs or resources to address mental health challenges. Dr. Felder maintained that the county was working to sufficiently meet student mental health requirements. 

Many other questions focused on cuts in the proposed budget. For example, the lack of an auditorium at schools like the newly-under-construction Northwood high school, underfunding of the Career Readiness Education Academy (CREA) program at Edison, or cut in the number of Restorative Justice workers in MCPS as a whole. 

Elsewhere,  budget cuts have forced MCPS to improve. For example, Woodward high school will undergo construction without funding for an auditorium. The county hopes that in the three years of its construction, there will be enough money to allocate funding for an auditorium in time to open with the rest of the school. 

One large explanation for these budgets was the lack of complete funding for this year’s budget proposal. Montgomery County only funded 98.2% of this year’s budget, meaning the school system has had to make certain adjustments. “The County executive sent us a budget that funded 98% of the school board’s request. Our job now is to see how much we can afford,” said Jawando.

The budget has yet to be finalized. According to Councilmember Jawando, there will still be negotiations to change the final numbers. “I think it’s highly likely [the budget] will change, hopefully up, hopefully close to our request, but that’s part of the process we’re going through,” Jawando says. 

The final budget recommendation will be sent to the County Council on May 1st, with the final decision made around the end of May. 

Last updated: April 16, 2024, 10:39 p.m.

Alexander Liu. Hi, I'm Alex (he/him) and I'll be a staff writer for SCO this year. I'm passionate about public policy and international relations. In my free time, I enjoy drawing and watching terrible rom-coms. More »

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