WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Battle Expected Over Montgomery County School Budget

Play associated audio
The plan for fiscal 2014 is laid out for reporters by Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr.
Matt Bush
The plan for fiscal 2014 is laid out for reporters by Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr.

A potential battle is shaping up over the Montgomery County school budget. A new report was released showing modest improvements in economic indicators in the area, but council members are concerned that the proposed school budget could break the bank.

Schools superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr unveiled his budget request Tuesday morning. It does not include pay raises for unionized employees like teachers, but it does call for the restoration of many positions that had been eliminated over the past few years because of the economy.

"We are adding five elementary music teachers. We are restoring staff development teachers that had to be cut a few years ago," Starr says. "We are adding some folks who are specifically trained in mathematics, because we know math is a big issue going forward."

The school system makes the budget request, and then the county council decides how much of it to fund. The school system takes up about half of the county's budget, and state law requires that counties spend more each successive year on their schools. Council members say Starr's budget goes too far over that mandate, and would cut into the budget for county government and the parks system.

"It would not make sense at all for the county to further handcuff itself by voting for an amount that is above the required maintenance of effort level... because it is an irreversible increase," says Councilman Phil Andrews.

Starr is asking for an addition $10 million, or less than 0.5 percent, above the state-required increase.

"This community has expected a significant investment in education because education is the signature element of the Montgomery County brand," Starr says.

NPR

Credibility Concerns Overshadow Release Of Gay Talese's New Book

NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with Paul Farhi of the Washington Post about Gay Talese's new book, The Voyeur's Hotel. The credibility of the book, which follows a self-proclaimed sex researcher who bought a hotel to spy on his guests through ventilator windows, has been called into question after Farhi uncovered problems with Talese's story.
NPR

Amid Craft Brewery Boom, Some Worry About A Bubble — But Most Just Fear Foam

Fueled by customers' unquenchable thirst for the next great flavor note, the craft beer industry has exploded like a poorly fermented bottle of home brew.
NPR

White House Documents Number Of Civilians Killed In U.S. Drone Strikes

The Obama administration issued a long awaited report Friday, documenting the number on civilians who have been accidentally killed by U.S. drone strikes. Human rights activists welcome the administration's newfound transparency, though some question whether the report goes far enough.
NPR

Tesla 'Autopilot' Crash Raises Concerns About Self-Driving Cars

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a fatal crash involving a Tesla car using the "autopilot" feature. NPR's Robert Siegel talks to Alex Davies of Wired about the crash and what it means for self-driving car technology.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.