Allocation of funds at RM raises questions


Photo Courtesy of Mohamed Hassan via PxHere

The Montgomery County Council approved $11.8 million in grants toward tourism and arts institutions.

Andy Zabinski, Arts Writer

Many students and teachers feel that the school’s budget could be improved in some way, but very few people, other than each subject’s resource teacher or school administrators, know how it works.

At RM, funds are not simply allocated to each department based on the number of students in certain classes. There are restrictions on what the money can be used for. For academic money, the county gives it in two forms: textbook and materials money.

According to RM Principal Mr. Monteleone, “Every year, we get our budget from the county in the form of a materials budget and textbook budget. Ms. Hernandez [RM’s Business Manager] and I look at what departments got last year and increase it by a little bit because we usually receive more money than the previous year. A teacher may come to me saying that they need money for 400 textbooks, and nine times out out of 10, we do give it to them.” However, one constraint on this is that money for textbooks is not allowed to be used for materials and vice versa.

[It’s] a hard question because every school needs more money.”

— Mr. Todd Stillman

A common concern about the allocation of money for textbooks is that schools often purchase the more expensive hard copies rather than the available online copies. With the increasing availability of the internet, online textbooks could become another popular alternative. “We should also try switching to online learning,” senior Brian Verdier said. A few classes at RM, such as AP Statistics or RMS US History, give students the option to use an online textbook rather than a hard copy.  

Many students also feel that the budget should be used to cover other expenses such as field trips. “Teachers plan to have field trips and they expect students to pay for the full cost, and sometimes it’s very expensive,” junior Edward Rizkalla said.

Senior Harsh Yadav shared a similar view on the allocation of money.  “We could have more field trips and have new Chromebooks,” he said.

The issue of how to spend money is often disputed amongst teachers as well. After school programs, homework club, SAT classes, art resources, and accommodating for student overpopulation are all areas where funding could be directed towards. “[It’s] a hard question because every school needs more money. We need more money for smaller class sizes in addition to the building,” social studies resource teacher Mr. Todd Stillman said.

“Overall, RM isn’t shortchanged materials or facility use. We could have more things, but teachers usually get items they request this year or the next. If there is a need for RM, it is not material-based,” science teacher Mr. Jon Goetz said.