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FY 2011 MCPS Budget Advocacy

Proposed and Threatened Cuts to MCPS Magnet Programs

The proposed FY 2011 MCPS Operating Budget includes several possible cuts to Magnet and other "special" programs:
  • A reduction of 5.0 full time teaching positions from high school special programs countywide.
  • A potential reduction of up to 12.9 full time teaching positions from special programs countywide.
  • A potential reduction or elimination of all funding for magnet buses countywide.
  • A potential reduction of stipends and other expenses for secondary school extracurricular activities countywide.
Learn more at:

GTA Response

The Gifted and Talented Association of Montgomery County, Maryland sent a letter on January 27, 2010 to the Montgomery County Board of Education regarding proposed and threatened cuts affecting MCPS Magnet programs.The letter urges that the MCPS 2010-2011 Budget maintain funding for Center, Magnet, immersion, IB and other special program (collectively referred to below as “Magnet” programs) staffing and transportation.  Failure to do so would harm Magnet students, highlight MCPS’ actual policy of serving only part of its students and renege on your recent promise of equity.

You can read the text of the letter by clicking here.

Immersion Programs

Montgomery County Public Schools has the distinction of housing the oldest French Immersion program in the nation.  The program, a model for other states, serves about 600 students in the county who receive the MCPS curriculum in the French language.  The program is so successful that each year, both schools turn away hundreds of applicants because places are limited.  This pattern is repeated at schools offering Spanish and Chinese language immersion programs.

Despite such remarkable success and popularity, immersion program resources have been cut back in Montgomery County for four consecutive years.  Programs are now so thinly supported that immersion teachers must spend hours translating Montgomery County teaching materials, in addition to regular teaching responsibilities.

Once again immersion programs across the country are slated for new reductions.  A recently published list of proposed reductions for the 2010-2011 MCPS budget would disproportionately impact language immersion programs in the county.  In addition to system-wide reductions, immersion programs would lose program teachers and school bus transportation. ....  (Continued here).

Support efforts to protect foreign language immersion programs by signing this petition, created the Rock Creek Forest PTA, and by signing this petition created by the Maryvale and Sligo Creek PTAs.

Middle School Magnet Consortium

The Middle School Magnet Consortium ((MSMC) is made up of three schools -- Argyle, Loiederman, and Parkland middle schools -- each of which offers an innovative and challenging magnet curriculum. Argyle focuses on digital design and development; Loiederman offers a creative and performing arts focus; and Parkland provides students the opportunity to explore math and science through aerospace technology and robotic engineering.

Loiederman Middle School has created an entire landing page to showcase their students' advocacy on behalf of the MSMC.  For video clips, links to their testimony and more, click here.


Testimony on Behalf of Magnet Programs

(The following individuals agreed to have have their testimony and correspondence with the BOE posted here. Hyperlinked name opens full testimony on Scribd.  If you have a letter you'd like included, contact admin @ gtamc.org )
  • Eric Marx - "...Make no mistake about it, even though the threatened cuts would save only a tiny amount of money, they would absolutely kill these programs as we know them...."
  • Eric Marx - (Jan. 27, 2010) "No other part of the MCPS budget has been hit this hard, and these programs are really suffering -- to make additional cuts, on top of the previous devastating cuts made over the last two years, would only underscore an ever-clearer message that not only is gifted and talented students' education the lowest priority of anything in the entire budget, but that, in fact, you just don't care about these students at all."
  • Kate Weishaar - (8th Grade Student, Roberto Clemente MS Humanties Magnet) - "...When I found out that the list of proposed budget cuts included eliminating Magnet school transportation, I must admit I felt little surprise. Ever since I entered the magnet program, the needs of gifted and talented students have been under attack. In the past, the targets have included teachers’ planning time, educational field trips, and special projects. Now, transportation for gifted and talented students is at risk...."
  • Stephanie Weishaar  - "...keep in mind that these magnet programs are not “extras” in the school budget. They are programs designed to meet the special needs of our children. Highly gifted children need a school environment tailored to their unique way of learning just as children with learning disabilities do....."
  • Soma and Subhasis Datta - "...We dispute that these magnet and signature programs are
“optional”. In recent testimony at the
 BOE budget hearings, we were reminded that Montgomery County Public Schools has promised in its policy 
IOA to educate every child in the way that meets their educational needs. The needs of exceptionally and highly “gifted and talented” students needing different kinds of accommodations ... must be an MCPS high priority, not an option!..."
  • Sharon Goodall - "...It is my belief that all special programs will be intensely impacted by these cuts; it will greatly inhibit the ability of all programs to meet their full potential...."
  • Mary Snieckus -  "...I urge your continued support of the magnet programs including busing to provide access to any student who earns a place in these terrific programs. I was able to attend the budget hearing last night, and was very impressed with the students who presented - I think they are a real testimony to what MCPS schools are capable of when resources are available to help each child reach their learning potential with information taught by good teachers in settings appropriate to different styles of learning...."

Letters to the Editor

  • Diane L. King - (Gazette.net January 27, 2010)  "As a Clarksburg parent of two students in gifted education ..., I find it outrageous that Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jerry Weast wants to eliminate safe transportation to school for GT students. We pay our taxes and expect the services we currently receive, and are entitled to. Transporting our children to school is about as basic a need as there is."

How You Can Take Action

The easiest thing you can do is send a letter or e-mail to the Board of Education:

Montgomery County Board of Education
850 Hungerford Drive
Rockville, Maryland 20850
boe@mcpsmd.org

You can also contact the Superintendent or the County Council:

Social Media

Students have started a Facebook Group:  MCPS Students Against Revocation of Transportation from Magnet Students
And of course, GTA has a new Facebook fanpage and Twitter feed.