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Montgomery County Council Disputes Schools' Job Cuts Claims

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MCPS says it has cut 1,300 positions in the past three years, but an alternate analysis says the net cut of jobs is actually just 160.
Rosa Say (http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosasay/4768778416/)
MCPS says it has cut 1,300 positions in the past three years, but an alternate analysis says the net cut of jobs is actually just 160.

Some members of the Montgomery County Council want the county's schools to take on more of a fair share of the pain from the recession in the area of job reductions.

It's a touchy subject. Many council members feel the school system hasn't borne the brunt of the economic downturn the way other county agencies have. Despite the fact the school system takes up half of all taxpayer money spent in the county, county government jobs have been slashed at a much greater rate during the past three years, according to Council member Phil Andrews (D).

"The county workforce is down, on a percentage basis, 14 times as much," Andrews said during a council meeting Tuesday.

The school system says it has cut 1,300 positions in the last three years, but an analysis by council staff shows the net loss of jobs in schools is only 160. That angered Council member Marc Elrich (D), who spotted school officials in attendance at yesterday's council meeting.

"Do you deliberately put out misinformation from the school system? Where does this 1,300 number come from?" Elrich said. "Because here are the facts, and the facts don't support 1,300."

But both numbers are correct, according to council staff director Stephen Farber, who prepared the council's analysis.

"There were, in fact, 1,300 positions reduced," Farber says. "But there were also positions that were added back."

The school system says it needed new hires to deal with an increase in enrollment over the last three years of 9,000 students.

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