Throughout the DC Metro area public school systems are bracing themselves for 2 things- spring statewide mandatory standardized testing and the effect of shrinking budgets on staffing projections for the coming school year. As in years past, the economy continues to force school systems to make additional cuts but this year many counties are forced to reduce the number of teachers which will have a direct impact on teaching and learning.
Last week Prince George’s County Board of Education announced that their budget would eliminate 800 positions, 335 of which were classroom teaching positions. In addition to having fewer teachers, class size in Prince George's will increase by two students at every grade level except for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. Across the river in Fairfax County, the school system expects to make $16 million in cuts and looks towards increasing property tax to help fund public education programs.
Late last week staff allocations to Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) principals were released and the future looks grim. In a message to staff from Superintendent Dr. Jerry Weast, class size throughout MCPS will increase by one student that will eliminate a total of 252 positions- 142 in elementary schools and 55 each at middle and high schools. Additional reductions in staffing can be made depending on enrollment and central services will take hits as they have over the past 10 years.