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Pr. George's Schools' Budget Looks To Cut Costs, Boost Achievement

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By Jessica Gould

The proposed budget for Prince George's County schools calls for a freeze on employee salaries and elimination of the middle school sports program. But school system leaders say they're working hard to keep the cuts from affecting student achievement.

Faced with declining revenue and increasing operational costs, schools superintendent William Hite says the system has to make some tough choices for its 2012 fiscal year budget.

"We are looking at staff reduction of some of our non-classroom positions, like those positions that support instruction. We're looking at making a new formula for our maintenance and custodial. We're looking at our benefits and we're also looking at middle school athletics," he says.

But Hite says these options are better than increasing class size or laying off teachers.

"We're not recommending furloughs," he says. "We're not recommending increases in class size. So we're really trying to protect our classrooms and our teachers with this proposal."

Hite also says the $1.7 billion budget is just a starting point for discussions. He says the Board of Education will hold a series of public hearings on the proposal after the New Year.

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