A Message From Interim Superintendent Larry Bowers
As I begin my service as interim superintendent of schools this week, I think back on what our district looked like on my first day as an employee of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in August 1978.
At that time, MCPS had an enrollment of about 107,400 students and most of them—more than 80 percent—were white and only about 10 percent received free- and reduced-price meals (FARMS). Fewer than 4 percent of our students at the time needed English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services.
Certainly, much has changed. Since beginning my employment with MCPS, we have added nearly 50,000 students and we are a much more diverse district with no majority population. More than a third of our students receive FARMS and about 14 percent require ESOL services.
But there is one thing that has not changed over these 37 years—the commitment and excellence of the MCPS teachers, administrators, and support professionals. From engaging classroom instruction and world-class operations, to outstanding school leadership and a service-oriented central office, the staff of MCPS is second-to-none. That is why I am confident that our students and our district will continue to thrive during this time of transition and beyond.
Over the next several months, we have a lot of important work to do. We must intensify our focus on improving literacy and mathematics instruction to ensure every child has a strong foundation of knowledge, skills, and learning processes. And we must work with state and county leaders to ensure we have the funding to provide all students with the education they need and deserve.
The budget is an area of particular concern. The Board of Education’s Operating Budget request approved last week, is $10 million less than the superintendent’s December recommendation, reflecting lower-than-expected revenue from the state. The Board and I remain concerned about the fiscal situation in our county and state and the impact it will have on our budget. We are preparing for further cuts, but we won’t know how deep those reductions will be until May. In the coming months, we need your help in advocating for the budget funding we need to provide a world-class education to all students. You can learn more about the budget on the MCPS website.
I want to thank the Board of Education for entrusting me with the leadership of MCPS for the next four-and-a-half months. As interim superintendent, it is my job to make sure you have the resources and support you need to serve the students and families of MCPS at the highest level and to ensure a smooth transition in leadership once the Board appoints a new superintendent. You have my word that, over the next several months, I will work tirelessly on your behalf and on behalf of the students of MCPS.
I am honored to serve this great school district with you.
Larry A. Bowers, interim superintendent