Montgomery Co. schools, teachers union reach deal in special ed staffing

Montgomery County, Maryland, schools and the union that represents teachers have struck a deal with a plan both sides hope will fill 102 full- and part-time teaching vacancies in special education.

“It’s definitely easier for us to be able to hire in some of our more general fields of education than some of the specialized areas like special education,” said Dr. Monifa McKnight shortly before details of the agreement were announced.

With school starting on Monday, the plan that was ratified by the Montgomery County Education Association hopes to lure some current Montgomery County Public Schools teachers, dual certified in both special education and general education, to transfer to special education classes. The decision to do that would come with a $5,000 incentive.

“The two parties came together and thought that this was a creative opportunity for us to provide some choice for those who may be looking to try something different but stay within the system and who wanted to take advantage of expanding their horizons professionally,” McKnight said.

The deal would also provide quarterly incentives for special education teachers who become responsible for additional students as a case manager for a special education student’s Individualized Education Program plan. According to the school system, depending on the number of additional students, teachers may be eligible for up to $4,000 more a year.



The school system says since last Friday, it has already received 40 responses to an initial announcement about the plan while it was still in the works.

McKnight also said that the school system is 99% percent staffed overall.

Another area where help is still needed — driving school buses. The school system has 73 positions open, with 41 potential bus drivers moving through the hiring process. McKnight said that, if all are hired, 32 bus drivers will be needed. The situation is an improvement from the 100 open bus driver positions the school system aw last August.

“A very different place than we were last year,” McKnight said.

The school system will kick off the school year with a back-to-school fair this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. near the Macy’s at the Westfield Wheaton mall. The event will provide COVID-19 and other immunizations for students and information for students. There will also be games, music and other entertainment for families.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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