The Montgomery County Council gave the county school system $440,000 in emergency funds yesterday to pay for 24 extra teachers hired this year when 831 unexpected students enrolled.
The school board requested $838,995 in November, which included funding for 12.5 other secondary teaching positions. The council did not approve the plan for those additional positions.
"I think the council was most cooperative and helped lessen the burden of overcrowding," said Ken Hill, director of the school system's Department of Budget Planning and Development. "We're better off living with some extra kids than with the disruptions" that would be created if new classes were added in secondary schools.
Twelve of the new teachers were hired to compensate for 375 unexpected kindergarten students. Three teachers were added in elementary schools, six in senior high schools, two in the special English language program for foreign students, and two in part-time positions.
Hill said the school district will request the extra 12.5 teaching positions in next year's budget request.
But Jacqueline Rogers, director of the county's Office of Management and Budget, said, "The need [for the additional secondary teachers] has not been clearly demonstrated. They just did not seem to particularly warrant" the increase.
As of October, after the 24 new teachers were hired, 533 classrooms had two to five students above the maximum capacity recommended by the board. Next year the school system will have to hire 115 to 120 new teachers to cope with an anticipated increase of more than 3,000 students, Hill said.