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Baltimore County prepares for possibility of new student enrollment from private schools

Posted at 8:35 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 20:35:29-04

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. — Baltimore County Public Schools said it's prepared to meet the demands of new student enrollment come the fall.

In a statement to WMAR-2 News, a spokesperson for the district said:

"While we don't yet know how the financial impacts of the pandemic would affect enrollment, it is certainly possible Baltimore County Public Schools could see an increase in students. We will provide high-quality educational services to all students who are enrolled and eligible for public education in Baltimore County."

Earlier in the week Baltimore County Councilman Julian Jones suggested families with students currently in private schools might move them into the public education system for the upcoming year.

"I know parents make a lot of sacrifices for their kids so it is a very difficult decision to take them out of a school that they really like," he said. "It's certainly up to the parents to do what's best for their families and their children.

Yearly tuition for a private or independent school isn't cheap. With people facing financial uncertainties and roughly 87,000 people filing unemployment claims in Baltimore County, a free public education could be the key to cutting costs and saving money.

It's unclear how many families are planning to make the switch to BCPS but Jones said the county is ready.

"They told me they are monitoring enrollment. I think we’re up to 115,000 students now. They continue to monitor the enrollment in terms of trying to be prepared for an influx of students."

Some private and independent schools are working with families experiencing economic hardships, whether it's because of unemployment or some other form of lost wages because of the pandemic.

"We don’t want any child to stop having access to a Waldorf education," said Pat Whitehead, Executive Director for The Waldorf School of Baltimore. "We have about two dozen families who have concerns about paying for the tuition. We're getting creative."

On June 9th Waldorf is holding it's annual spring fundraiser and money raised will go to help school families struggling.

The Circle of Light fundraiser is going to be virtual. There is humor in it," said Whitehead. "Their are three things we are focusing on. Of course we're focused on raising dollars for tuition assistance. We're also focused on working to upgrade our facility so when we welcome the kids back their totally safe. Then of course there's the issue of access to technology."

To view TWSB's spring fundraiser click here.

As for Baltimore County Public Schools, it will welcome any new student and family into their school communities.

Councilman Jones says for any parent of a private school student who has questions about receiving a public education, he offered up this reassurance:

"We have great teachers," he said. "We also have a great community of students. We have tremendous resources devoted to the schools. $.52 of every tax dollar goes to the schools so, everything is there to make your kid have a wonderful experience."

If you are thinking about enrolling your child with Baltimore County Public Schools it is recommended you start the process early and not wait until the first day of school. For more information on enrollment click here.