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MCPS 2015-2016 Operating Budget Hearing: A United Call for Diversity

budget hearing january

At a public hearing this past Thursday, concerned members of the MCPS community voiced their opinions and demanded change in the 2015-2016 MCPS Operating Budget.

Members of the Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Starr received testimonies from single-issue advocates, cluster leaders, as well as organizations spread across Montgomery County.

The first testimony was by Frances Frost, President of the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations (MCCPTA). Frost urged the Board of Education to consider Montgomery County’s student diversity and push for a more diverse teaching staff to close the achievement gap by “filling in the opportunity gap.” Frost also highlighted the importance of increased technological and human resources to further satisfy the education needs of all students. Frost’s testimony was corroborated by other cluster leaders who made a unified call for diversity, particularly sufficient funding for special education.

Richard Yarrow and Emory Cole, respectively the President and Operating Budget Deputy for the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association (MCR-SGA), presented student perspectives for improving of Montgomery County’s educational system. In addition to underlining the importance of more diverse teachers and efforts to close the achievement gap, the two also brought up lower-cost ways to improve education, challenging the quality of homework assignments and stressing meaningful assignments from teachers, not simply “busywork.” Yarrow’s testimony, as well as a subsequent presentation by Peter Maldonado, a sophomore from Richard Montgomery High School, called for increased allocation of funds to support school technology programs.

Ensuing presentations by school cluster representatives echoed demands for greater diversity. Some individuals made calls for a careful revision of the budget to ensure that the Board’s expenditures are feasible with the current economic situation. Nevertheless, the majority of the clusters acknowledged their commitment to working step-by-step with the Board and “understood the difficulty of the task at hand.”

At the conclusion of the cluster testimonies, Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr encouraged all participants to stay tuned and keep up to date with the information that the Board will be giving throughout the upcoming months. He emphasized to the clusters that the budget he proposed does try to address “our systemic needs” of the school system, but that “this is just the beginning.”

The hearing took place on January 15th, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at Carver Education Services Center. BOE will hold an Operating Budget Work Session on January 20th.

Article by the MoCo Student senior writer Samuel Antezana, Einstein High School ’13 

About The MoCo Student

In 2012, Student Member of the Board of Education John Mannes created a countywide press network to help build a conduit to share fresh and relevant information written by youth to the wider Montgomery County student body.

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