Board of Education approves $1.7 billion budget request

The Prince George's County Board of Education last week approved a nearly $1.7 billion operating budget request for fiscal 2014 — up 1.7 percent and $28.9 million from last year's approved budget.

"This year we continue to focus on budget priorities that will help ensure our students graduate college- and career-ready," said Board Chairwoman Verjeana Jacobs. "Our goal is to meet our students' needs and invest in our employees, while continuing to focus on innovation and fiscal stability."

According to a news release from the school system, this year's budget request — approved at the board meeting Thursday, Feb. 21 — includes an increase in funds to support "negotiated compensation improvement, Student-Based Budgeting increases and allocations to support the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative." That initiative supports schools in regards to truancy, parent engagement, after-school and summer programs and reading and math interventions.

In a released statement, Interim Superintendent Alvin Crawley called the budget process "the most transparent we have had to date," and that the board and central office received a great deal of public input.

"I am confident that this budget supports the needs of our students and families," he said. "It truly reflects our commitment to providing rigorous academic programs and teachers who are highly effective in the classroom."

The board will submit the budget request to County Executive Rushern Baker III by Friday, March 1. Baker will present his budget to the County Council by March 31, and the school board will approve, and if necessary, reconcile, the final budget based on the county's appropriations.

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