Superintendent Warns Teachers About Cuts

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jerry Weast has notified teachers that substantial cuts are being put in place.

    The superintendent said he hopes these reductions will avoid layoffs and lost jobs.

    Budget Cuts Inevitable Says Montgomery County Superintendent

    [DC] Budget Cuts Inevitable Says Montgomery County Superintendent
    A letter sent to the Montgomery County School District staff on Friday warned of painful cuts ahead. (Published Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010)

    Maryland takes pride in its ranking as the No. 1 public school system in the country. Many consider it the crown jewel of all public school systems. But even the crown jewel is being crippled by the weak economy and dwindling tax revenues.

    The superintendent sent out a memorandum to all teachers Friday.

    "The reason they got this notice is that were trying to avoid layoffs," Weast said. "That's what I'm trying to do."

    Weast pointed with pride to Advance placement test scores, which show that African-American students in Montgomery County outperform the national average. He credited great teachers but said they are going to have to do more with less.

    "I'm going to guarantee an increase in class size, but they will not have to, I hope, lose their jobs or get transferred too many different places to keep their jobs," Weast said.

    Besides bigger classes, there will be cuts in some programs and less support from the central office due to staff reductions. The newest teachers are most at risk for transfers and layoffs.

    Lisa MacFarlane is in her first year teaching s government and US History here at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville.

    "Ideally I'd like to stay here, said Lisa MacFarlane, who is in her first year teaching government and U.S. history at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville. "I'm comfortable here, I know the system, but being transferred would be better than being laid off."

    Doug Prouty, president of the Montgomery County Teachers Association, which is the union that represents 12,000 school employees, is working with school and county officials to protect as many jobs as possible.

    "We appreciate the fact that the school system is looking out for our teachers by giving them this early warning," Prouty said. "If there are going to be cuts and involuntary transfers, it's much better they know now so they can then look around and find a position that suits them for next year than wait until June. It's a lot harder for folks to wait until June and find something that takes best advantage of their skills."

    There is still the possibility that some teachers will be laid off.  It all depends on the budget that will be submitted by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett next week and hard spending decisions that must be made by the Montgomery County Council.