Friday, May 07, 2010

Floreen on MCPS Furloughs

Council President Nancy Floreen has been sending out the following letter to residents on the possibility of furloughs in MCPS.

Dear Resident:

Thank you for your correspondence about the possibility of furloughs for Montgomery County Public Schools employees. I distributed your message to Councilmembers when I received it.

All of us on the County Council take great pride in the outstanding achievements of our school system, and we know MCPS employees are the keys to this success. Please be assured we remain committed to providing our children with the top-notch education our residents have come to expect.

I am sure that you are aware of the County’s extremely difficult fiscal situation. The County Executive forwarded us his recommended budget in March, and that budget funded MCPS at the same level as last year. Even taking into account the 2 percent increase in student enrollment, the school system fared much better than other departments and agencies within County government.

Since March, declining income tax revenues have required us to revise budget assumptions down by about $170 million. In total, the County has had to close a budget gap of nearly $1 billion, which is equal to about one fourth of our annual budget. As a result, we are forced to look at even more cuts in services, layoffs of hundreds of employees and increases in taxes on top of the original proposal.

In an effort to be fair and equitable under the changed circumstances, we are looking at revising the ten-day furlough plan the County Executive originally proposed for certain categories of County employees. One option would be to reduce the number of days of furlough and extend it to all employees, including the police and fire and rescue workers. We understand that Montgomery College and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission employees also will be furloughed.

Given the extraordinary situation, we must ask everybody to contribute to the solution. As we do this, we are acutely aware of the real and personal impacts our budget decisions have on residents and employees.

You should note that the Board of Education is the ultimate authority on allocating funding within MCPS. Although we will continue to work together throughout the budget season, the Board will decide how to implement any budget cuts.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write to us with your thoughts.


Nancy Floreen
Council President