Many Students and parents in Prince George’s County are outraged after learning they will have to start paying for their Advanced Placement exams. As a result of this action, Prince George’s students plan to protest outside the School Board meeting (Sasscer Administration Building) on Thursday over the cutback in funding of AP tests.
Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County reports that, as a result of the budget cuts, Prince George’s schools will no longer pay for AP tests for all students who take Advanced Placement courses in the county’s school system, spurring petitions and a protest this coming Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016.
Fox 5 Channel news covered the story here. The tests cost more than $90 apiece and for students taking several AP courses – or for families with more than one AP student in the schools – that amount can add up. Students who are not receiving free or reduced-price meals at school will have to pay for the tests themselves.
Student School Board Member and a leader on his own right to reform the school system (Parkdale High School senior Juwan Blocker) said students are horrified. Blocker, a senior at Parkdale HS, said an online petition against the move is launched and students and their allies would mass for Thursday’s School Board meeting to protest the move without further delay to the situation.
Almost 70 percent of the county’s 129,000 students are receiving free or reduced price meals. About 36 percent, if they are taking AP courses, will have to foot the bill for their tests. A schools system spokesperson told media that students who scored 3, 4, or 5 on the test would also have their testing paid for.
The schools system argued in a letter to parents that recent budget cuts have caused this cutback from full funding of AP tests. The school system got less than requested from the County Council’s budget this fiscal year, though more than last year. Fully funding the tests costs the schools about a half-million dollars.
In a post on his Facebook page, State Sen. Anthony Muse D-26th said “This is a shame. Parents have to absorb this half million dollar budget , so called shortfall. Yet we are pushing for two more council persons to be be added to our county budget [a]t a cost of 1 million dollars which we do not need. . The CEO is paid over 300 thousand dollars a year . He has more hired executive staff then any county , costing millions of dollars, but we are going to make students pay for exams. What kind of nonsense is this. This is not good for our County nor fair to our students.”
Muse was referring to ballot Question D, which proposes two additional Prince George’s council members and is estimated to cost a million dollars a year when implemented. It will be voted on in the Nov. 8 election. Reform Sasscer Movement is asking the county citizenry to vote “NO” on Question D and vote against any candidate who has allowed this situation to escalate to the detriment of the county. Reform sasscer Movement is also calling on volunteers to help organize the community now, during and after the general elections in November. Those interested in assisting with the county agenda and to help solve the issues needs to email their information to ReformPGCPS@gmail.com.
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