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Montgomery County's $5B Budget Uses Controversial Accounting

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Montgomery County’s nearly $5 billion budget goes into effect July 1 with a spending plan that was both hailed and criticized for its creative approach.

Among other things, the county’s new budget increases funding for road repair, education and even libraries. The school system was fully funded $51 million over the state mandated minimum with the help of what some consider a controversial approach, which draws surplus funds from health care trust plans for current and retired school employees.

Council president Craig Rice says creative accounting for Montgomery County Public Schools is necessary to avoid the achievement gap between high- and low-poverty schools and ensure that county schools continue to perform at a high level.

“We've got to do it all. We've got to keep moving the needle at the top and at the bottom and bring that gap closer together so that all our students are achieving at a very high level. That was really an important piece of funding our budget," Rice says.

Although the home and commercial energy tax imposed during the economic downturn was retained, its level was decreased for the third year in a row.

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