I am concerned about the current and future cuts to the budget for the Prince George's County school system.
I believe that these cuts will undermine all the gains that have been made in the county schools during the past 10 years. The magnet and Milliken II programs have enhanced the quality of education system-wide, and I fear that cuts will endanger the future of these programs as well as the overall quality of the system.
I am alarmed at the effects budget cuts will have in several areas:
1. Magnet and Milliken II Funding: Full funding of the magnet and Milliken II programs is essential. These programs have upgraded the general level of education in the county and provided incentives for parents to invest their efforts in and entrust their children to our schools. The different choices these programs provide enable the county to meet the varied needs of the diversified student population.
2. Changes in Instructional Staff: The teacher hiring freeze will result in increased class size, early teacher burnout and lowered quality of teaching. The reassignment of administrative staff to the classroom as substitute teachers will cause major cutbacks in enrichment programs, cuts in teacher training and staff development and lowered staff morale.
3. Instructional Materials and Libraries: Instructional materials and library resources have not been fully funded for years, and additional cuts will be devastating. In addition, the new multicultural program must be paid for out of a starkly reduced budget.
I urge concerned citizens to speak out in support of a fully funded education budget. Quality education is the foundation of a strong community. If the county is to remain a desirable place to live, we need to make sure that the school system remains competitive.
JOAN ROACHE President Prince George's County Association for the Talented and Gifted Bowie