Superintendent preserves Montgomery's classroom size
Weast calls for 155 non-teaching positions to be cut in response to funding reduction
Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast has backed off from a plan to increase class size by cutting teaching positions.
On Monday, Weast released the latest version of the school system's 2012 operating budget. This iteration was based on a unanimous vote by the Montgomery County Council last week that indicated an additional $45 million would be trimmed from the county's contribution to the school system's proposed $2.2 billion operating budget.
Earlier this year, Weast proposed eliminating 168 teaching positions to deal with the possibility that the school system would receive no increase in county funding. Such a move would have increased class size by one student in elementary and middle schools, and .4 students in high schools.
The staff reductions Weast proposed Monday would cut $25 million from the budget the school board approved in March, before additional cuts were proposed by the county executive and County Council. In those previous cuts, Weast proposed eliminating 608 staff positions, including the 168 teaching positions, to save $45.1 million.
In the plan released Monday, Weast also recommended eliminating salary "step" increases for staff, based on longevity, to shave $28 million. The plan also calls for 155 existing positions to be eliminated, and the school system will not create 164 new positions to deal with a projected enrollment increase of 3,400 students next year.
Among those 319 positions, Weast proposed eliminating 51 staff development positions, 34 media assistants, and 34 positions in the school system's central office.
The school board is scheduled to consider Weast's recommendations Monday evening. The board is expected to hold a final vote on its 2012 budget on June 10.
On Thursday in a straw vote on its 2012 budget, the County Council approved schools funding that is $127 million below the school board's $1.497 billion request, and $45 million below the level recommended by County Executive Isiah Leggett (D). Leggett's proposal would have kept county school funding in 2012 at $1.415 billion, the same funding it is receiving in the 2011 budget.
The council's final vote on the 2012 budget is scheduled for Thursday.
Among the council's cuts is an $18.7 million reduction to the school system's request for employee benefits in 2012. Council members have said they want the school system to force its employees to pay more for health care.
In response, Weast has recommended a $20.9 million cut to the board's approved funding levels for benefits.
For the school board's Monday vote, Weast recommends a $2.086 billion 2012 operating budget for Montgomery County Public Schools, about $18 million below the 2011 budget.