Proposed increase in budget will reduce class size
This is not original reporting. All information compiled from MCPS' the Bulletin and from The Washington Post.
Montgomery County Executive Douglas Duncan announced his $3.6-billion Fiscal Year 2006 budget on March 15 which supports MCPS' Board of Education-approved proposal of a $1.7 billion operating budget. This budget would reduce the maximum class size guidelines for the first time in 20 years. The County Council will vote on both budgets in the near future.
According to The Washington Post, Duncan plans to increase spending for schools by 7.2 percent, which would include setting aside funds to hire more police officers and expanding healthcare options for the uninsured and services for foreign residents. Under the school system's new budget, which is a 6.8 percent increase from that of the current fiscal year, oversized classes will be reduced five to seven students beginning in the fall of 2006. The maximum class size will decrease from 28 to 26 students in grades one through three and from 30 to 28 students in grades four and five. The proposed operating budget would also expand full-day kindergarten, improve special education and give teachers more technology tools to help with instruction.
Members of the Board believe that the new budget will enhance learning and the overall quality of student education. "Our efforts to reduce class size will give teachers more time to teach and students more one-on-one time with their teachers," said Board President Patricia O'Neill to staffers of the MCPS newsletter.
According to The Bulletin, school superintendent Jerry Weast stated that overall student performance has improved over the past five years because of the emphasis MCPS has placed on strengthening education. "We are demonstrating that when you hire top quality teachers, administrators and support staff and give them the tools they need to do their jobs, good things happen," he said.
These improvements include students achieving the highest SAT scores in the history of Montgomery County and Maryland and second and third graders being among the highest achieving students on state and national tests. In addition, a growing number of students have passed AP exams; 39 percent of MCPS seniors scored a three or better on one or more AP exam last spring, three times the national average.
School officials credit Duncan for the progress they have made in education. "Doug believes in what we are doing and has invested the county resources necessary to make these good things happen," said Weast in The Bulletin.
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