AACPS Eliminates Sophomore Year in Budget Cuts

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AACPS Eliminates Sophomore Year

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan caused consternation among lawmakers last week by announcing he will redirect $68 million set aside for Maryland schools and instead use it to shore up the state’s pension system. On Thursday, the governor said that spending more money on schools instead of covering the underfunded state’s pension would be “absolutely irresponsible, and it will not happen on my watch,” according to The Baltimore Sun.

Although not technically a budget cut,but  rather a reduced budgetary increase, school officials, nevertheless, found themselves scrambling to cover shortfalls in proposed spending. An Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) spokesman announced this morning that the expected cuts will be broad strokes, rather than smaller, cumulative reductions and that the Board of Education has authorized AACPS to eliminate Sophomore year.

AACPS Eliminates Sophomore Year

“We have faced budgetary challenges for a long time, and we have finally reached a point where stopgap measures won’t carry the day anymore” said Assistant to AACPS Assistant Under Superintendent For Community Concern, Mike Bosier. “So moving forward next fall,we have taken the stance that AACPS will eliminates Sophomore year from all county high schools. At the end of Freshman year, students progressing to the next education level will immediately become Juniors. All of our research indicates that, of all four years in high school, sophomore year was the most pointless and awkward for children, so in that respect, it was not a difficult decision.”

School officials admit that the initial phase-in will be challenging during the first year of implementation,with both freshmen and sophomores being simultaneously absorbed into the junior class, but the feasibility of hiring temporary teachers to alleviate the strain was being considered. Officials also said that more cuts could be coming over the next two or three years if the operating budget was left unchanged, meaning that other school levels could be affected. A source close to AACPS indicated that both third and seventh grades were also being considered for elimination, but the final decision would not be made this year.

Some parents and administrators have questioned the lack of education funding in the years following two separate referendums approving slots in 2008 and an expansion to include table games in 2012. Then Governor, Martin O’Malley, promised voters that their approval of gambling would mean “hundreds of millions of dollars for our schools.” However, after Marylanders passed both referendums, legislation in late 2012 reduced the share of slot monies that went to the Education Trust. In fact, money received by the trust was deducted from the portion allocated from the general fund, meaning that in most cases there was a net-zero gain from gambling revenues. The Hogan administration, has so far been silent on the gambling revenues issue.

“We feel that the school systems are adequately funded,” said Susan Vedder, a spokesman for the Governor. “As far as the revenues from the gambling industry, we really have no way of knowing what the previous administration promised everyone. They didn’t leave any notes or instructions behind to let us know what we should do with the money, so we had to use our best judgment. Those people with questions should contact the former governor and ask him, themselves. If you can get a hold of him. From what we understand, he is out on the campaign trail a lot and has kind of checked out of Maryland politics.”

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Category: Anne Arundel County

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