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Reasonable Class Sizes and the Minimum Wage

I wanted to let you know about two issues I’ve been working on recently that will affect students in Montgomery County and working families throughout the state of Maryland.

First, I am urging the Montgomery County Council to fully fund the proposed capital budget for our schools. We can do this by redirecting funds currently proposed for Montrose Parkway East to the schools and other higher-priority capital projects. At least some of my colleagues on the council agree with delaying most of the funding for Montrose Parkway East; however, they would allocate the funds for other transportation projects. I think our students need to be a priority. As I noted in an email to my colleagues on February 7, even full funding for the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) capital budget does not address the many capacity needs the school system faces. If growth continues at the current pace, full funding will produce fewer new seats than the number of students we are likely to add over the next six years. So an already bad situation will just get worse. We could move money from the parkway to the schools and still have money to address other local transportation and parks projects; I would support a balanced approach.

Second, I testified in Annapolis on Thursday in favor of SB 543, which would raise Maryland’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023. As you may know, I led the successful effort to pass legislation that will raise Montgomery County’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021 for large businesses and by 2023 or 2024 for smaller businesses. That legislation will help 100,000 Montgomery County residents. If the state follows our county’s lead, hundreds of thousands of other people throughout Maryland will benefit, too, and I was proud to voice my support for the statewide bill.

I will continue advocating for adequate school construction and fair wages, as these issues are very important to me. I’ve been working on them for years, and I am running for County Executive so I can continue to be your champion for reasonable class sizes, a more just economy, and other issues that affect people’s quality of life in the years to come. I hope you will join me in my efforts to advance these causes both now and in the future.

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