PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Some Prince George’s County students and staff say they were shocked to learn their schools are on the chopping block. FOX 5 has learned the PGCPS CEO’s budget proposal would consolidate the county’s alternative schools from five down to three.
Staff said they were caught off guard by the news and some board members said they were also surprised to see this in the budget plan for next school year.
The schools that would be consolidated under the plan are Tall Oaks Vocational High School in Bowie and Community Based Classroom, known as CBC, in Lanham.
Jade Mason, who attends CBC, said she just found out about this on Thursday.
"I was really shocked. Out of all the public schools I’ve been to, CBC is the last school I would close," said Mason. "It’s so versatile and flexible. They work with you."
She also provided some statements of support for the school by fellow students.
At Thursday’s school board meeting, several CBC staffers spoke against the proposal during public comment, saying the schools are important options for at-risk students.
CBC has a 95 percent graduation rate. English teacher Zena Whitworth, who spoke before the board, said these students could very well be left behind in a traditional school.
"For example, those students who suffer from anxiety, those students who have been bullied, those students who don’t do well because of the large class sizes," said Whitworth.
She also mentioned students who’ve been involved in the criminal justice system and those who are parents. CBC has day and evening classes.
"What programs are you going to put in place for these types of students?" she asked.
FOX 5 reached out to PGCPS Thursday for additional details from CEO Dr. Monica Goldson, but we are still awaiting a response.
The budget offers few details about the plan and reasoning behind it, stating the five alternative schools would be restructured into a northern and southern high school location and one middle school program.
CEO Goldson was not at Thursday’s board meeting. The board chair said she’s on travel.
The school board will now amend the CEO’s budget before voting on it. There are several meetings in the coming weeks.
The first public hearing on the budget is on Jan. 27.