Montgomery County Public Schools continue to grow as new school year starts Tuesday

Heather Curtis

WASHINGTON (WMAL) – Maryland’s largest public school system – Montgomery County Public Schools – continues to grow. Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith estimates there will be a total of anywhere between 1,100 to 1,600 new students in the 2019 to 2020 school year, which starts Tuesday.

Smith explained to the school board that last year there were 800 new students in the school system. He said they expect somewhere between 1,400 and 1,800 new students to take their seats behind desks on the first day of school Tuesday. They won’t know until after school starts how many students withdrew for various reasons including moving to other locations. Last year between the first day of school and Sept. 30 they had about 1,000 students withdraw, according to Smith. Once the withdrawals are factored in, he expects anywhere between 1,100 to 1,600 new students.

The school system has been adding so many new students over the years that it has struggled to accommodate them. Many schools are so overcrowded that classes are being taught in temporary classrooms. The school system has been working to handle its growing population by building additions onto existing schools, and Tuesday the new Snowden Farm Elementary School in Clarksburg will open its doors to 650 students.

Not only will the school system have more new students in the 2019 to 2020 school year than it did in the 2018 to 2019 school year, Smith said the total number of students in kindergarten through 12th grade may be more than 160,000 for the first time plus another roughly 5,000 pre-kindergarten students. At the end of the last school year there were about 159,500 students in grades K-12.

New students won’t be the only ones starting at MCPS Tuesday. Chief Operating Officer Andy Zuckerman said they have hired more than 1,000 new teachers. Zuckerman said About 29 percent of all new MCPS staffers, including support staff, are MCPS alumni.

Copyright 2019 by All Rights Reserved. (Photo: Heather Curtis)

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