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Montgomery Co. School Budget Slashed

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The Montgomery County Council adopted a 2012 budget that cut $25 million from the school budget May 19.
Matt Bush
The Montgomery County Council adopted a 2012 budget that cut $25 million from the school budget May 19.

Cutting school funding gained more and more traction as the deadline approached for the Montgomery County Council to approve the 2012 budget, which cuts a total of $300 million dollars from the current year's plan.

Many of the school cuts will affect the benefit packages for employees, who previously were excluded from similar cuts that other county workers were facing. County Executive Isiah Leggett's original budget plan included benefits cuts for county employees, but not school employees.

But the Montgomery County Council rejected that plan last week.

Councilman Marc Elrich admits the move isn't popular, but adds it was necessary.

"The school teacher's job is long and thankless," he says. "But so is a fire fighter's, and a policeman's, and a social worker's.

"There are an awful lot of people who work for not a lot of compensation who do great things for this county, and I think we need to respect all of them," he says.

Council members directed the schools to take the cuts mainly from employee benefits, and argue that they won't affect students.

Chris Barclay, president of the county board of education, called council's claims that the cuts would not affect things like classroom size and instruction "not true", saying the system will now be spending about $1,500 less per student than two years ago.

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