Rising class sizes possible in Baltimore County
The budget introduced last night by Baltimore County Superintendent Joe A. Hairston would save money by reducing the teaching staff by about 200 through attrition. Cheryl Bost, the union president, said she wants to look at the numbers more carefully, but that the reduction may only take the staffing levels to where they were before the enrollment began to dip some years back. In other words, the county school system didn't reduce the teaching staff in the past several years when the number of kids in classrooms went down. However, there's still plenty of worry to go around. First, it isn't clear if Bost's theory will turn out to be correct. There will be 200 fewer teachers and roughly 1,400 more students. In addition, our high schools may feel the worst of the class increases. And high school classes are already some of the largest. One parent of a higher schooler complained last night in an interview that her son had one class with 35 students in it. During a visit during American Education Week she had seen just how disconnected he was to what was going on in the class. And another parent worried what greater burden that would mean for teachers with more papers to grade and more students to keep track of.
While the General Assembly has yet to act, there's plenty of reason to believe that some cuts to education are likely. That would mean far more drastic cuts than Hairston is now proposing and they could come rather quickly just before the budget passes in March.