An article yesterday incorrectly stated the position of Mark Simon, president of the Montgomery County Education Association. In remarks Tuesday, Simon criticized the four members of the County Council who voted against adding $7.3 million to the school budget for increased teacher salaries. He supported the position taken by council members David L. Scull, Esther P. Gelman and Michael L. Gudis, who favored additional spending.
The Montgomery County Council reversed its earlier vote and approved salary increases for county teachers as part of the $1 billion budget for fiscal 1987 approved yesterday.
The budget of $1.049 billion, which the seven-member council passed unanimously, represents an 8.8 percent increase for the county of 633,000 residents. It exceeds County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist's budget request by about$4 million, primarily because of added school funding.
"We broke the sound barrier," said Council Chairman William E. Hanna Jr. "We maintained every level of service we had and improved on many others."
The county's operating budget, which goes into effect July 1, pays the salaries of county workers from teachers to maintenance workers and pays for schools, libraries, social services and enforcement of county ordinances such as building codes. It complements the capital improvements budget -- a $1.35 billion, six-year building program -- that also was passed yesterday. That budget primarily funds road construction and improvement and school renovations.
County taxes will not be set by the council until June 24, but "everybody's tax bill is going to go up," Hanna said.
Outgoing County Executive Gilchrist said when he presented his budget that property tax rates would decline but that about 60 percent of the county's homeowners would pay an additional $25 in property taxes next year because of the rising value of property.
The council hit a snag when it came to approving the budget for the county Board of Education. On Monday, the council rejected a school board request for an additional $7.3 million to increase teachers' salaries next year by 6 percent. Instead, the council added only $2.5 million, which would have raised salaries of new teachers to $19,000.
But yesterday the council approved the additional funding for teachers' salaries by mandating that the extra $4.8 million for the raises come out of the schools' operating improvement budget.
"I thought it was a nightmare," school board member Sharon DiFonzo said angrily. "It was criminal." The school board had released a statement that criticized the council for failing to meet the terms of the agreement between the board and the teachers.
Council members William Hanna, Scott Fosler, Rose Crenca and Neal Potter voted for the mandated funding. "They should be very happy," Hanna said. "We wrote them a check for $7 million."
Three council members, David L. Scull, Esther P. Gelman and Michael L. Gudis, who voted Monday for adding the entire $7.3 million, yesterday expressed support for that position. They voted against the effort yesterday mandating that the funds be found elsewhere.
But Mark Simon, president of the teachers union, denounced the three who voted against, saying, "They were paying lip service to quality education."
"We vow to build a coalition of those who want to build the quality of education in this county and stop the shenanigans that are going on between the County Council and the [school] board."
Increased funding for the school board was the largest single increase in the budget. The school board will receive $476.1 million, up 9 percent or about $39 million from the previous year.
With its new budget, Montgomery joins an elite group of fewer than 50 of the nation's 3,106 counties that have billion-dollar budgets, according to Thomas L. Joseph, legislative representative for the National Association of Counties. Fairfax County's budget for fiscal 1987 is about $1.4 billion.