Friday, March 19, 2010

Two Quick Facts About Montgomery County Public Schools

The latest Overview of State Aid to Local Governments contains two quick facts about Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) that state policymakers need to understand.

First, MCPS leads the state in the percentage of students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Only Prince George's County is close to MoCo on that measure.

Second, MCPS is fourth in the state in terms of minority percentage of its student body (61%). Only Baltimore City and Prince George's County have significantly higher percentages. MoCo is number one in Latino percentage and far exceeds anyone else other than Prince George's.

Despite the above facts, only about one-fifth of MCPS's budget is financed with state aid - a lower percentage than any Maryland jurisdiction other than Worcester and Talbot Counties.

MCPS derives such a low percentage of its budget from the state because state aid formulas are driven by relative wealth. If state aid were instead driven by measures of challenges facing school districts, MCPS would get a whole lot more.