Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Financial Crisis Hits Public Schools in Maryland and Virginia

The current global financial crisis is taking its toll on public education districts in Maryland and Virginia, districts that are close in proximity to Washington, D.C.  According to an article appearing in today's Washington Post, Fairfax County, Virginia, is considering reductions in campus police officers, school health aides and preschool classes for needy students, while the Prince George's County school system in Maryland has begun a hiring freeze and is drafting plans for a possible 10 percent budget cut as educators confront the fallout of the economic downturn.

The article notes that the fiscal troubles in the two counties are echoed elsewhere in a region that prizes public education and for the past decade has lavished money on academic initiatives. In Montgomery County, Maryland, the superintendent has warned that the schools cannot honor scheduled teacher raises. Meanwhile, Loudon County, Virginia, is hoping voters will endorse a meals tax Nov. 4 to help fund school construction.

According to the Post report, school budget discussions do not usually begin in earnest until December or January.  However, this year falling tax revenue and rising fuel costs have led officials to jump-start their budget review, giving a much earlier glimpse of the services at stake.

For the sake of our young people, we hope that relief is in sight.

VEJ

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