Thousands of Students Head Back to Class in Md., Va.

It's that time of year! Thousands of students in Maryland and Virginia went back to school Monday. 

In Montgomery County, over 159,000 students started school. The county is the state's largest school district and it continues to grow.

""We're going to welcome back about 2,500 more students than we ended last year with so we have to have a bus and a good learning environment for every student that walks through the door," said Montgomery County Superintendent Jack Smith.

Students in Loudoun and Prince William counties also went back to class, starting school a week before the traditional post-Labor Day start date. 

Two new schools opened their doors in Prince William County. The district, the second largest in the state, also welcomed about 1,000 new students and 800 new teachers. 

"Space is a premium now," said Prince William County Superintendent Dr. Steven Walts. "Trying to acquire land is a big, big challenge and trying to get communities involved in a way that they want to support a new school is a bit more challenging."

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The head start program in Prince George's County also began Monday despite the loss of a $6.4 million grant. 

The Community Development Institute, which is based in Denver, Colorado, will run the early-childhood education program on an interim basis until a permanent agency is chosen. 

Federal officials stripped the school's Head Start program of a $6.4 million grant after complaints of abuse and poor teacher training surfaced during an investigation. 

Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for the federal agency that funds Head Start, says teachers and staff currently in the Head Start program will have to reapply for their jobs and be hired through CDI. 

More than 930 Prince George's County students between the ages of 3 and 5 are in the Head Start Program.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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