Frederick Co. ends large portion of remote learning program due to budget cuts

Remote learning will be a thing of the past for a number of Frederick County, Maryland, students after this summer.

The Remote Virtual Program for 3rd through 8th graders was cut for next year to balance the Frederick County Board of Education’s budget.

In the audience at Thursday’s board meeting were parents and students sporting signs and T-shirts calling for the program to be saved. Although they sat for hours waiting for the topic to come up, they were not given a chance to speak during the discussion, as there was no motion on the topic that would allow for public comment.

That lead to outcries from the audience which included “are you serious?”, “you haven’t heard us, you still aren’t hearing us,” and “you aren’t listening to your own students!”

Board chair Karen Yoho told the crowd to quiet down or she would have to clear the room, but also said she understood their frustration and offered to stay after the meeting to hear any of their comments.

During the board discussion on the topic, Heather Clabaugh, associate superintendent of fiscal services, detailed that the remote learning program for 6th to 8th graders was pricey.

“We would need to add $1.36 million,” Clabaugh said, noting the amount that would be necessary in order to keep the program operating.

Clabaugh said currently the remote learning program would serve 122 6th to 8th grade students, which comes out to roughly $11,000 per student.

That cost comes from a staff of 10 teachers and an assistant principal as well as computers for the students and licensing to use textbooks for the online learning program. But, she said, bringing those students back into the classroom would have a negligible cost.

The high school remote learning program is still being funded.

Some students in the canceled remote learning program have special needs and have specialized programs such as Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or 504 plans.

Specialized teachers and assistance for those students will still be funded and provided and the specialized support will be offered at in-person schools.

This marks the second public online learning program being cut in Maryland this week due to budget cuts. Montgomery County Public Schools announced Thursday that it would be doing away with its virtual learning program completely.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up