The Frederick County Board of Education will host a public work session Monday to discuss understaffing across the system and the impact it’s having on students and staff.

Board member Liz Barrett pitched the discussion at the beginning of Wednesday’s meeting, originally asking her colleagues to add it to the agenda for that evening.

What followed was a terse back-and-forth over board procedures and scheduling, with several members advocating for a separate meeting to tackle the issue. Barrett responded with obvious frustration.

“The roof is on fire right now,” she said. “I don’t know how to make this any clearer.”

Eventually, all seven board members besides Barrett and David Bass voted to approve Wednesday’s agenda without the additional discussion item.

Staffing issues have plagued FCPS and school systems around the country during the return to in-person learning. It’s resulted in low morale among the employees who do show up, Barrett argued.

During her comments at the end of the meeting, Barrett read an email she’d received from an FCPS teacher. The instructor described a classroom full of students with differing needs — some with disabilities, some learning English, some struggling with math.

The teacher had an assigned interventionist who was supposed to help support those students, but they were constantly pulled out of the classroom to sub, the email said. The teacher described feeling “crushed” watching students struggle on quarterly tests because they hadn’t received adequate support.

Barrett said gathering input from system staff on possible solutions to staffing woes was “urgent.” She asked FCPS Superintendent Terry Alban to organize outreach to teachers, administrators, food service workers, bus drivers and more in the coming days, asking them what the board could do to support them.

“I would just love to see the community weigh in right now,” she said.

The meeting will take place 6 p.m. Monday in the boardroom at 191 East St. Community members will be invited to give public comment.

Follow Jillian Atelsek on Twitter: @jillian_atelsek

(6) comments

newspostreader

FCPS needs to pay for the talent they need. Teachers drive down to Montgomery, or over to Washington or Carroll to get significantly higher pay. Frederick has always been lower and now they're in this situation.

FlyFisherman

Total grandstanding. No solutions, complain, complain, complain.

Plumbum

A special session to talk about being understaffed. So, let’s jerk around the summer break so we piss off even more of the existing teachers

phydeaux994

As the parent of an eighth grade English teacher and the Father-in Law of an Elementary School Principal, I know their pain. And it’s far from over. Our daughter says that only the eighth graders who have been in Middle School for a year are doing ok. The sixth and seventh graders who are new to in-person Middle School are struggling.

TrekMan

And we're expecting to find workers for the great Build Back Better plan!! Hahahahaha!! Where's Sleepy Joe gonna get the workers for that - he's already paid them all to stay home!! The incompetency of it all is embarrassing!

bpsws

Thank you, Board Member Barrett, for taking a lead on this. Teachers are indeed exhausted. Many have left the profession and more are looking for a way out of their chosen career.

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