UPPER MARLBORO – Although Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) officials continue to deny the school administration and staff is growing, previous budget numbers indicate a nearly 1,300 increase in positions since 2013. A June 3 issue of the Washington Business Journal listed the largest employers in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Initially PGCPS was […]
UPPER MARLBORO – Although Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) officials continue to deny the school administration and staff is growing, previous budget numbers indicate a nearly 1,300 increase in positions since 2013.
A June 3 issue of the Washington Business Journal listed the largest employers in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Initially PGCPS was ranked number one in metro area employment with employment listed at 23,785, which matches the number listed on the PGCPS website. However, the Journal updated their list later in the week to reflect the number of employees the school system had projected—18,458—in its 2015 fiscal year budget. The change dropped PGCPS to fourth in the area, but the school system still lists the greater number on its website.
Keesha Bullock, director of communications for PGCPS, said the school system has 23,785 employees—which includes part-time, temporary and full-time employees. Of the total number of employees, she said, 18,458 are full time.
With 23,785 total employees PGCPS has more than Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)—which has 26,000 more students than PGCPS—and Fairfax County Public Schools, according to public data from both school districts.
PGCPS did not comment on why their schools system needed more staff in total than surrounding counties but assured that they are slowly dwindling down their numbers.
“There has been no increase in employees,” said Sherrie Johnson, a spokeswoman for the school system. “In fact we have continued steadily reduced our workforce over the past few years.”
PGCPS Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell has also denied staff and administration increases on multiple occasions including a June 25 Board of Education meeting, calling allegations of increases “just false,” during a discussion of the school system’s budget.
Despite Maxwell’s previous statements, the school system’s budget numbers show an increase of nearly 1,300 employees from 2013 through 2015, according to the approved operating budgets.
Since 2013 the school system has budgeted an increased of six administrators, 59 additional directors, coordinators and supervisors, and 691 new teachers. There was also an increase in guidance counselors, principals, secretaries and aids, according to the 2015 approved operating budget.
The school system had planned to cut some staff in the 2015 budget including two social workers, 12 assistant principals and two “other professional staff.” Despite cutting assistant principal positions, the total was still one more than the school system had in 2013.
Overall the school system budgeted for to increase its staff by 683 people from 2014, and 1,286 since 2013, according to the 2015 fiscal year approved operating budget.
Bullock said budget numbers are not an accurate reflection of actual staffing numbers. Budget books are only planning documents, she said, and are not representative of actual positions since budgeted positions are different than filled positions.
“In my department I can say I want to budget for 20 positions, but that doesn’t mean I will fill all of them,” she said.
Any staffing increases in recent years, she said, have been to get the staff numbers back to a “baseline” after years of cuts.
Lynn McCawley, another representative for PGCPS, said hiring of staff is directly correlated to increases in enrollment.
“After several years of reductions in our numbers of full-time employees (FTE’s), we have been able to increase staffing to address increased enrollment and expansion of specialty programs and public charter schools. While the budget may indicate a specific number of FTE’s in central offices, many of those positions have remained vacant for an extended period of time so resources can be redirected to the classroom in support of our strategic goals,” she wrote in an email.
The fiscal year 2016 approved operating budget will not be made available to the public until August 3. Updated numbers and estimates will be made available then.