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Respond to testimony on behalf of the Walt Whitman Cluster that states that Walt Whitman High School’s Learning for Independence (LFI) program is understaffed, and that their staff to student ratio is higher than the ratios at Walter Johnson and Rockville high schools. Provide information on ratios for all LFI programs.

Question#: 51

ANSWER:

In MCPS, all Learning for Independence (LFI) programs are staffed at the same ratio at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.  The staffing ratio across all programs is 1.0 FTE teacher to 10 students.  For every 1.0 teacher position staffed, a 0.875 FTE paraeducator position is staffed.  This ratio serves as a guideline, as is the case with general education staffing ratios.

Currently, the enrollment and staffing for the Walt Whitman, Walter Johnson, and Rockville high schools LFI programs is as follows:

Walt Whitman High School: 2.0 teachers 23 students 1.750
Walter Johnson High School: 2.0 teachers 16 students 1.750
Rockville High School: 5.0 teachers 49 students 4.375

When teacher positions are allocated for the LFI program, they are allocated as 1.0 FTE positions because the classes are self-contained.  Walt Whitman’s LFI program enrollment would have to increase before a new class requiring a 1.0 FTE teacher position and a 0.875 FTE paraeducator position would be allocated.

As in all special education programs, enrollment in the LFI Program fluctuates thoughout the year.  The Office of Special Education and Student Services closely monitors each LFI program and responds to individual principal’s requests for additional staffing by first analyzing enrollment and the use of allocated resources.

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