Federal Stimulus Funds To Improve Services for Students with Special Needs
Federal Stimulus Funds To Improve Services for Students
with Special Needs and Students Impacted by Poverty
Board of Education Unanimously Approves New Spending
lan for $21.4 Million Federal Investment in Next Year’s Budget
Congressional and Council Leaders Praise Plan to Expand
Full-day Head Start, Improve Special Education Programs
ROCKVILLE, MD—Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will receive $21.4 million in new federal stimulus dollars to expand services for students with special needs and to provide more support for elementary schools most severely impacted by poverty. The new investment enables the significant expansion of full-day Head Start in these schools and will restore teacher positions to reduce class size, support reading and math interventions, and support students for whom English is not their first language.
Montgomery County Board of Education President Shirley Brandman and MCPS Superintendent Jerry D. Weast were joined today by U.S. Representatives Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards, and Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin, to highlight the school system’s plans for the use of the federal funds, which were unanimously approved by the Board on Monday night. Of the $21.4 million in federal grants slated to come to MCPS in each of the next two years from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, $15.3 million will be targeted to special education and $6.1 million will support elementary schools highly impacted by poverty, also known as Title I schools.
The Board of Education unanimously amended its adopted Fiscal Year 2010 Operating Budget to reflect the new spending in the plan being sent to County Executive Isiah Leggett and the Montgomery County Council next week.
Among the highlights of the items included in the Board’s approved plan, with regard to Title I funding:
“The addition of the federal stimulus funds offers an opportunity to restore a number of budget initiatives that will help to strengthen teaching and learning for some of our most vulnerable students and expand some very key investments that we know work for students,” said Brandman. “The budget process this year has been extraordinarily difficult, so it is helpful that we will be able to provide additional support in the classroom to meet the needs of our students.”
“This entire federal stimulus package has been about sparking economic recovery, in both the short term and the long run, and certainly one of the best ways to achieve both of these objectives is to make sound investments in our schools,” said Weast. “This funding comes at a critical time for us, as we are serving more students who are living in poverty and with special needs. We will put every dollar to work on their behalf. We are extremely grateful to the President and Congress for providing this critical support.”
“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will bring $3.8 billion into Maryland, including vital funding for education programs,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “Montgomery County Public Schools will see an increase of over $50 million in funding over two years. These funds will help keep us from taking a step backwards in our educational achievements, and I applaud Superintendent Weast and the Montgomery County School Board on their decisive implementation of this critical funding. Montgomery County and the State of Maryland are national leaders in the effort to raise the bar on educational performance and close the achievement gap. We face difficult economic times, and the American people deserve leaders who will forge a path to long-term fiscal sustainability and success. The investments we make today in education will undoubtedly help our children to succeed in the future.”
“I am pleased that stimulus funds will be used to invest in our greatest resource—our children’s education,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “This funding will allow Montgomery County Public Schools to expand early childhood education by adding eight new full-day Head Start programs so that there are now 21 such classes in 18 Title I low-income schools. We will also help create jobs by restoring teacher positions to reduce class sizes. With the $2 billion budget shortfall facing Maryland, I look forward to working with my Congressional colleagues to ensure that we continue to make our children’s education a number one priority.”
“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will allow Montgomery County Public Schools to preserve $21.4 million of teaching and support services for Montgomery County’s most vulnerable children,” said County Councilmember Valerie Ervin, chair of the Council’s Education Committee. “The expansion of full-day Head Start to all Title I schools that have a Head Start program will help close the achievement gap and provide comprehensive preschool services, especially for those from low-income communities. I want to thank our local members of Congress, Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen, for making the investment in Maryland and Montgomery County’s children a top priority.”
Last edited by Howard Hartman; 02-24-2009 at 09:18 AM.
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