Beginning in the 2011 school year, only one teacher will instruct all Albert Einstein Visual Arts Center (VAC) classes due to county budget cuts, according to VAC instructor Michael Piechocinski. The VAC teachers were informed in mid-April.
VAC teacher Jane Walsh will lose her position, but Piechocinski will remain on staff. "We were informed that as a part of the MCPS budget situation, we will have a 50 percent reduction in staff here at the VAC," Piechocinski said. "We will be reduced from two to one."
Piechocinski plans to eliminate one VAC course to compensate for the loss. "We will cut one of the double period courses in the morning," he said. Currently, there are three different sessions offered daily between 7:25 a.m. and 2:10 p.m.
The VAC is a countywide comprehensive program directed toward portfolio development, according to the VAC website. The program's goal is to help students realize and achieve their full potential, and serves students both in and out of the Downcounty Consortium.
"We have, over the years, had students come as far as Poolesville and Damascus," Piechocinski said. "Roughly about one third of our 70 so students are coming from other cities."
Despite this recent setback, Piechocinski is not worried about the future of the VAC. "In any situation, you always strive to be as positive as possible," he said. He expressed that as long as the students remain focused, the program will remain strong. "The success and continuation of the program will depend on the students," he said. "Will it be difficult? Yes. Is it going to be possible? Yes," he said.