May 25, 2010

Montgomery parents fight school cuts

Montgomery County (web | news) , Md. - Monday evening, parents in one of the region's top school districts are gearing up for a fight to save their schools' programs amid news of new, larger, budget cuts. They are speaking out even before the final budget figures are official at the Montgomery County Board of Education's first meeting since learning the budget may be slashed by an additional $24 million. This newest figure would join the $137 million in cuts already in place for next year. There will be no final decision Monday night, but parents are already preparing for what might happen.

"I'm concerned overall about the economics of our situation," said parent Nadine Bloch.

Late last week, the county council moved forward with plans to slash another $24 million from the already reduced school budget. Another round of schools cuts is now imminent. Parent Susan Katz Miller said, "The board really needs to get in there an scrutinize every line of cut that is going to be made and make sure that they're representing what the community is asking them to do."

Because the latest potential cut isn't yet finalized there is no official word on programs or staff that could be affected. But parents worry things like buses for special programs or elementary language programs may be on the chopping block. Both programs barely made it through the first round of cuts. So parents are speaking up now, hoping an early message -- weeks before any final decision -- will have a lasting effect on the board.

Parent Jane Welna shared, "It's terribly unfortunate and I hope that people can come up with some creative solutions to preserve some of the great programs MOGO schools has..."

Miller said, "I believe there are things in the budget that can be cut that aren't programs, that aren't going to affect kids directly."

In addition to parents, students will also voice their concerns and make their case to the board of education for programs they hope can be saved.

"Students tend to get a lot of respect when they go and testify. It's definitely an effective technique for getting the board's attention," stated Miller.

One of the parents you just heard from has an idea to save some money in the school district. It involves the school lunch trays. Tonight at 10 on the Washington Report we'll take a closer look at the idea, hear how much she says it will save and explore why the school appears to be uninterested in her plan. SOURCE: News 8

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