November 8, 2010

Bill would allow Montgomery school system to charge magnet students for transportation

Montgomery's public school students in magnet, immersion and other programs could be charged for bus rides to their schools if a bill proposed by the county's state legislators passes next year. Sen. Richard S. Madaleno (D-Dist. 18) of Kensington, who drafted the bill, said he introduced it to give Montgomery County Public Schools a method to charge students in optional regular education programs for transportation provided by the school system.

Last year, as an option among broad budget cuts, the Board of Education considered the elimination of transportation for students attending magnet programs. It later backed off after an outcry from parents and students. The cuts would have saved the school system $4.9 million, or $1,026 for each of the 4,775 students in the programs, during a year in which the operating budget was cut from $2.2 billion in fiscal 2010 to $2.1 billion in fiscal 2011.

The proposed bill would repeal a Maryland law that prohibits Montgomery County from charging for transportation of students to certain programs, such as magnet, foreign language immersion and International Baccalaureate. Madaleno said Montgomery County is the only county in Maryland prohibited from charging a fee to students for transportation in these situations. SOURCE: Gazette

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