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Dear MCPS Community,
The Montgomery County Board of Education discussed two items during its January 8 business meeting: an examination of class size within Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and an analysis of current school and cluster boundaries following a recent revision to Policy FAA, Educational Facilities Planning.
Examination of Class Size
Parents, staff and community members have expressed concerns about MCPS class size guidelines. Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, MCPS Board of Education Vice President, offered a resolution that was unanimously passed by the full Board to further study how our school system has historically approached the issue of class size, examine the district’s current state and determine the factors that would influence any modifications to class size guidelines, including budgetary implications.
Now is an ideal time to complete a comprehensive analysis and review of how MCPS considers the allocation of resources specific to class size given the continuing regional recovery from The Great Recession of 2008 and the implications this financial crisis had on staffing and facilities within our district.
MCPS participated in the State Support Network’s Strategic Planning and Resource Allocation Community of Practice and has continued this work through a Board-supported partnership with Education Resource Strategies (ERS). This work is helping to build a better understanding of how resources are used within our schools, and looking at how students and staff are distributed across schools and the district to meet the needs of students and staff, including class sizes. ERS will report its findings to the Board in June. In addition, a class size dashboard for elementary schools will be made available in the near future as part of the MCPS Data Dashboard on the MCPS website. The superintendent will be able to use these findings in conjunction with community input to review class size.
We know class size has been a source of ongoing conversation for many years and we are committed to taking the appropriate steps to analyze our current guidelines and ensure a holistic approach is taken to help inform future decision-making.
Frequently Asked Questions: Class Size Examination
MCPS enrollment has dramatically increased in recent years, and Montgomery County continues to experience shifts in development and housing patterns. Ms. Ananya Tadikonda, the Student Member of the Board of Education, offered a resolution to engage in an in-depth review and analysis of how existing school and cluster boundaries support or impede the effective use of our school facilities.
This assessment will allow us the opportunity to be intentional in creating equitable learning environments that leverage our assets, including the diversity of our students, and better use our resources and apply our policy in a way that reflects our values.
The Board looks forward to pursuing this analysis with a consultant and receiving information from a countywide review. Any potential future process would continue to be based on the four factors of student demographics; geographic proximity of communities to schools; stability of assignments over time – for instance considering the frequency and recency of boundary changes or school reassignments; and effective use of schools.
Frequently Asked Questions: Boundary Analysis
Community engagement will be central to both of these efforts at every stage. Over the coming months, we will be reaching out to stakeholders to gather input and insight on the shape and focus of these reviews. Our engagement with you will continue as the work progresses. The study will use student enrollment data as of September 30, 2019, and will be presented to the Board by spring 2020.
We have a responsibility to the community to ensure we use our resources as efficiently and effectively as possible to best serve our students. We know these issues are important to you and are committed to examining them thoroughly.
After both reviews, the Board will consider all feedback, analyze data and determine what steps, if any, are necessary using a thorough and transparent process. We will continue to engage the community throughout the process and will base any decisions on data, evidence and information gathered.
We look forward to working with you.
The Montgomery County Board of Education