The Board of Education has continued to make significant progress in decreasing the ratio of students to teachers in the various special education programs of the Montgomery County Public Schools, according to a report yesterday [Thursday, May 30] from Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools.
The report said that student-to-teacher ratios authorized in the Board of Education’s budgets have decreased or stayed the same in all but three of the 24 special education service areas since Fiscal Year 1999. In particular, there has been significant effort to reduce the student to staff ratio in the Learning/Academic Disabilities (LAD) program, which has gone from 14.9:1 to 12.7:1 in the last two years.
Compared to the current year’s budget, the authorized student/teacher ratios for next year either stayed the same or were reduced in 18 of the 24 service areas. In the six service areas where the ratio increased for next year, the changes range from 0.1 to 0.9 students. These increases reflect the enrollment changes and class location factors that are consistent with staffing requirements experienced in general education classes. The actual experiences, once the enrollment is known next fall, may require further adjustments, including additional decreases in the ratios.
Dr. Weast provided the report to the Board of Education in response to “considerable misinformation being circulated in the community regarding the Board of Education’s action this week on staffing for special education services.
“There was no decision to increase class sizes or the staffing ratios in special education across the board, nor has there been authorization for staffing ratios that are inconsistent with the budgetary allocations for the previous four years,” Dr. Weast said.
“These continuing improvements are the result of the Board of Education’s successful efforts over the past five years in allocating $5.5 million in enhanced spending for special education students,” Dr. Weast said. “In particular, during FY 2002, the Board approved $1.9 million in targeted class size reductions designed to cut class size in programs for students with learning disabilities to FY 1995 levels.”
The superintendent’s report to the Board of Education, including a detailed table providing the yearly student/teacher staffing ratios for special education services, is available on the Internet at the link below.