VIA THE GAZETTE:
The parents of children who attend Heather Hills Elementary School in Bowie questioned school officials’ dedication to education at a public forum, protesting staffing reductions at the school that officials made after the school year began.
At the Bowie Education Forum on Sept. 30 at Bowie City Hall, parents whose children attend Heather Hills told Prince George’s County school officials they were upset by the transfer of two classroom teachers from the school that occurred in mid- and late September.
Officials transferred the teachers to other schools weeks after the start of classes, disrupting bonds students had built with teachers and increasing class sizes, parents said.
The move “introduces the element of instability” to the school, Heather Hills Parent Teacher Organization co-vice president Rhonda Caldwell told the officials.
The forum was organized by the city of Bowie’s Education Committee to give parents the opportunity to ask officials questions about school system policies.
Officials based the decision to transfer the teachers on the school system’s staffing formula and enrollment, Deputy Superintendent Bonita Potter said. Enrollment numbers are finalized after the start of the school year, she said, adding that if the figures differ from previous expectations, then staffing levels sometimes must be adjusted.
In the case of Heather Hills, which has 335 students, the school was considered overstaffed, so the two teachers were assigned elsewhere, Potter said.
Tenure and union agreements also played a role in choosing the teachers to be transferred, Potter said, adding that she could not comment further on those aspects of the decision.
System officials cannot release the names or other information about the transferred teachers, including where they now teach, because the information is part of the teachers’ private personnel files, said Lynn McCawley, a spokeswoman for the school system.