Hairston Announces Baltimore Co. School Enrollment Is Now 52% Minority

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CATONSVILLE, Md. (AP) — Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Joe Hairston is challenging school leaders to do a better job this school year even as the school system has cut nearly 200 teaching positions.

The Baltimore Sun reports Hairston delivered his 12th annual speech to open the academic year Friday. Maryland's third-largest school system opens Aug. 29.

Hairston says the "new normal" for the schools is that they are more diverse than ever. He says the county's enrollment is now 52 percent minority with students from 113 nations and speaking 91 languages.

The economy has forced many families to transfer students from private schools to public schools. That could have an effect on Hairston's $1.5 billion budget as enrollments expand. The school board recently learned it's facing another projected budget shortfall for next year.