Book club:

It’s not exactly light reading, but the Montgomery County Public Schools budget will be the featured tome at a “Book Club” meeting Wednesday night.

The Montgomery County Civic Federation, Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County and the Montgomery County Taxpayers League are hosting “MCPS Budgetpalooza!” with plans to review the school system’s operating budget chapter by chapter. There are 11 chapters and nearly 550 pages, not including summary data and appendices, in the budget.

Superintendent Joshua P. Starr has recommended a $2.2 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2014. The school system’s budget is more than half of the total budget for the entire county and has been controversial in recent, tight budget years as other government agencies compete for the funds.

Starr’s budget proposal is a $48.9 million increase over the current year’s operating budget and requests $10 million more than the required minimum funding the county has to provide under maintenance of effort. The Board of Education is expected to vote on the 2014 operating budget on Feb. 12 before sending it to the county executive and Montgomery County Council for approval.

“Budgetpalooza!” goes from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 6 at the Rockville Memorial Library, First Floor Meeting Room, 21 Maryland Ave., Md.

Lynh Bui is a Prince George's County public safety reporter and former Montgomery County education reporter.

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