PGCPS Budget Battle is Not Over Yet
As some of you already know, Prince George’s County Public Schools had to make many painful cuts that the School Board approved in their FY 2012 budget, back on February 24, 2011. Since that time, hundreds of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) teachers have been told that they no longer have jobs after June 30, 2011. Fewer teachers means more students in every classroom, and I’m sure you know what that means for the quality of your child’s education.
However, the Maryland General Assembly reinstated $14 million of the State’s contribution back to Prince George’s County budget, and the County Executive is committing an additional $17 million in his proposed budget currently being discussed by the County Council. For those of you who may have forgotten, PGCPS administrators and school board members convinced citizens that if they went to Annapolis and requested that $20 million be reinstated into their budget, they could avoid teacher layoffs. Since the FY 2012 School Board budget was approved, they have now received an additional $31 million, which puts them back at the 2010 funding level. So why are teachers, guidance counselors, media specialists, and other educators still being laid off? This is one of many questions we must press the Council to ask of the School Board before they approve the County’s final budget later this month.
Please do not be lulled into thinking that the School Board’s budget problems are solved, or that your child’s public school education is fine, because of the additional money provided to PGCPS. All we know so far is that some of the money will be used to pay federal fines for our hiring practices used in recruiting foreign-born teachers, that Dr. Hite has continued to grow his administrative bureaucracy through reorganization it so it’s difficult to determine if any serious cuts are being made, and that those $90,000 secretaries and $75,000 data entry clerks are still on the PGCPS payroll after June 30, 2011. Meanwhile, your child’s teacher may not be there next year.
Only you have the power to change that. Please join us for a final forum tonight (May 5, 2011), at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton from 6:30pm – 9pm, to discuss the questionable issues in the PGCPS budget. We will develop a list of concerns to present to County Council at their budget public hearing on May 11. It’s not too late to urge our elected officials to change course, but it must be more than a small number of individuals to press them for action. Please come and participate. We need to hear from you.