School funding report stirs controversy

THE MOCO STUDENT • IRENE PARK

A recent Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight report on resources and staffing in Montgomery County Public Schools concluded that compensatory state funding should only be used in higher-need schools.

It was met with a number of concerns from the Board of Education and state senators. In a recent BOE post, Board President Patricia O’Neale echoed the discontent of Senators Richard Madalano, Jr. and Nancy King on the report. They declared that, instead, the needs of all students should be met equally through equal distribution of funds. Especially with the growing enrollment numbers of each year, appropriate resources and staffing have been at risk of slipping on a downward slope.

For Churchill sophomore Julia Chien, the words of the Board hold true. Despite being at a school that would not meet the OLO’s criteria for being a compensatory fund recipient, Chien still found large holes in funding for various activities and electives. “Every year in art, there’s a whole week of us just advertising the art program to get more people to sign up and help with money,” she said.

However, Bethesda-Chevy Chase high school freshman Danielle Rockman disagreed, arguing in favor of the OLO’s conclusion. She did not notice any staffing or resource concerns at her own school, so instead, she advocated for those that did. “I think it’s important that the higher-need schools get more funds so they are as equal as possible to the more privileged schools,” Rockman noted. “The name ‘higher-need’ kind of says it all.”

Einstein sophomore Kenny Martinez shared Rockman’s perspective. “The higher-need schools are considered ‘ghetto’ and bad because they have no money to help the kids,” he pointed out.

Rockman also stressed technology as a vital resource in all schools, higher-need or not. It is important to “buy new technology or improve existing classroom technology, since it’s increasingly being used as a learning tool to help students thrive,” she said.

As for students in magnet or International Baccalaureate programs, a slightly different story is to be told. Blair senior Angela Park, like many others, noticed a lack of resources, particularly textbooks. However, she indicated that she only began to see this when she moved on past the required classes and started enrolling in optional magnet electives.

Senior Anna Ou, also from Blair High School, agreed that Blair magnet classes were running on a shortage of resources. But magnet staffing, in her eyes, was not at all an issue. In fact, Ou hoped that the same great staff would be provided all over the county “because students in lower-level classes deserve good teachers, too.”

Article by MoCo Student staff writer Irene Park of Richard Montgomery High School

 

About the Author

The MoCo Student
The MoCo Student, founded in 2012, is Montgomery County's first student-run, county-wide online newspaper dedicated to providing youth-relevant stories and channeling the student voice. This year, the MoCo Student has over 60 writers, artists, filmmakers, and editors from middle and high schools across the county.