Montgomery Virtual Academy on the chopping block; supporters stage protests

A showdown at the Montgomery County Board of Education as protesters staged a sit-in in support of the Montgomery Virtual Academy. 

It’s on the chopping block as Montgomery County Public Schools votes on its budget for next year.

FOX 5’S Maureen Umeh said the vote will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday. But beginning at 8:30 a.m. students, parents, and supporters of the Montgomery Virtual Academy gathered to stage a sit-in to raise awareness of the proposed elimination of the program.

The program, which has an enrollment of nearly 800 students, came about during the pandemic to help support families with children with disabilities and those who were concerned about overcrowding in classrooms. 

But even as virtual classes have largely become a thing of the past, many families still rely on the flexibility it offers students with different needs.

This will be the second sit-in among other rallies in recent weeks to draw attention to the issue.

Yesterday, dozens of MCPS teachers and parents rallied in Silver Spring against the proposed budget cuts.

At issue is a roughly $30 million deficit in next year’s budget. The fear is it could lead to issues, including class size increases, reduced staffing, program cuts, and more.

Montgomery County Council President Andrew Friedson says he’s concerned that the school board has had money for pricey legal fees and settlements, but not basic needs. 

 "I want to be clear," Friedson said. "This is a management issue. It’s not a fiscal issue." Friedson said residents, students, educators, and staff deserve better.

A MCPS spokesperson said in a statement that no currently employed teachers will face a job loss and that schools will face class size increases.