Matter of Millions

Graphic by Josh Proctor

Graphic by Josh Proctor

Graphic by Josh Proctor
Graphic by Josh Proctor

Next year’s MCPS budget is focused mainly on managing the growing enrollment in schools and closing the ongoing achievement gap present in so many high schools .

With enrollment increasing significantly over the past years, $44.6 million is being put towards managing the number of students. In fact, RHS is expecting about 30 more students next year than RHS is staffed for. In addition, the average student-to-teacher ratio desired by MCPS is 30:1.

“I’m hoping for another full-time teacher allocation,” Principal Billie-Jean Bensen said. Staffing is officially decided March 4.

In addition to more staff, changes are being made to ensure that the Common Core standards are inforced. Each high school in the county is receiving an allowance for two more resource teachers to make room for additional release time.

Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr plans that within the following years, resource teachers will have more release time to help them in developing lesson plans and instructional programs with their department.

Math and English department resource teachers were selected for the extra release time because they are departments that are heavily involved with the new PARCC Assessments, replacing HSAs in the 2014-2015 school year, as part of the new Common Core curriculum.

Similarly, all high schools are getting an additional release period for their staff development teacher. Currently, there is one staff development teacher in each high school who helps teachers develop their craft and teach more effectively, so they will far an extra period each day to further that work.

Some high schools with a high achievement gap are getting lowered class sizes in English and math to focus attention on individual students. An increase in ESOL services has been built into the budget to ensure students can be successful and English taught classes.

The school board passed Dr. Starr’s budget with minor changes, but there is some speculation on how the County Executive’s office will approve it. “I am hoping that they recognize that this is a reasonable budget that fits our needs,” Dr. Starr said at a roundtable on Monday.