Frederick County’s average cost per student as calculated by the Maryland State Department of Education for the 2019-2020 school year ranked in the bottom tier of the state’s 24 jurisdictions, spending under $14,000 per student and ranking 2nd from the bottom. Despite starting to recover from drastic under-spending in 2011-2012, Frederick County educators continue to “do more with less.” The only county in the entire state that spends less per pupil is Harford.
- Only Harford County spends less per pupil than Frederick County Public Schools, a precipitous decline from 10 years ago.
Under-spending in Frederick County Public Schools forced prioritization that resulted in significant inadequacies in important budget items – from school support positions to programming – to teacher pay. While other neighboring districts implemented lean budgets in the early 2010’s, they resumed contractually obligated step increases as soon as it was fiscally feasible. Frederick County’s implementation of a four year transition was admirable, but has not yet closed the gap that exists in teacher pay levels in the counties surrounding us: Montgomery, Carroll, Howard, or Washington. When combined with the cost of living in Frederick County, educator’s salaries are not keeping pace. With the areas of growth in our County over the next several years, we will need to continue to attract and develop teachers who also will also be reflective of – and responsive to – the diverse needs of our student populations.
- Frederick County teachers are paid less than an equally certified teacher in every surrounding county at almost all points of the pay scale: Montgomery, Carroll, Howard, and Washington County average between $500 and $14000 more than FCPS teachers.
Schools have also been forced to cut costs to meet the demands of the slim budget. Classroom educators are frequently required to supplement their own classroom supplies to meet the needs of the students. According to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, 94% of classroom educators buy school supplies out of their own pockets to meet the needs of their students. Increased funding resources when ensure that every school in our county has the resources their classrooms need. (https://www.marylandblueprint.org/learn-more/)
Valuable programs that meet the varied needs of students are in jeopardy of being lost. Access and training for technology services lags while classroom sizes remain higher than ideal, forcing teachers to cater to many individual student needs, address challenging behaviors, and focus on implementing academic curriculum in the midst of ensuring all students are able to keep pace. Additional resource allocation and programming to meet the unique needs of student populations – including mental health programming, restorative practices in schools, programming to reach learners with limited English proficiency, and wraparound support services would ease some of the burden placed on classroom educators within the school day.
By authority of Friends of Rae Gallagher, Collin Brown, Treasurer