Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD

FY 2011 Operating Budget: Question & Answers

During the budget process, questions asked by members of the Board of Education are compiled. Appropriate staff from Montgomery County Public Schools respond to the questions with written answers that are forwarded to Board members.

Answers to other budget questions may be requested from the Department of Management, Budget, and Planning. Ask a budget question

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Questions 11-20


11. If high school extracurricular activity fees will need to be increased to offset reductions in stipends, what is the increase necessary for each student to provide a complete offset? What is the process that will be required to raise extracurricular activity fees? What will be the impact on high school extracurricular activities, including athletics, if stipends are cut and there are no corresponding increases in fees?

The superintendent of schools is not proposing any changes to extracurricular activities funding at this time. If sufficient funding is not received, however, the superintendent of schools will consider reductions in this area, as in other parts of the operating budget, after consulting with key stakeholders. If reductions may be avoided through higher extracurricular activity fees, that recommendation would need to be approved first by the Board of Education, as with changes in other fees. Currently, the extracurricular activity fee is $30 annually, with a $15 reduced fee for students from low-income families. In FY 2009, a total of 24,687 students paid extracurricular activity fees with total revenue of $725,000. If fees were raised by $10, for example, that might produce up to $250,000 in revenue, depending on the number of participants. lf higher fees were not sufficient to avoid reductions, then stipend rates would not be reduced, but some activities would have to be reduced or eliminated, depending on how much in savings would be expected. No decisions have yet been made.

12. How many additional teaching positions are allocated to the downcounty consortium for class size reductions?

For FY 2011, 21.5 additional positions are budgeted for the Downcounty Consortium (DCC) high schools. These positions are allocated to the five high schools in the DCC to reduce class sizes in Grade 9 academic classes. The actual allocations are determined by using Grade 9 projected enrollment numbers to calculate the number of extra teachers needed so that class sizes can be reduced in math, science, social studies, and science classes.

13. What is the net annual cost for summer school that is not otherwise recovered by fees?

The total cost of summer school recommended for FY 2011, including employee benefits, is approximately $2,500,000. This total includes regional and local summer school programs and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs, but not special education Extended School Year (ESY) or elementary school and middle school ESY programs. Summer school fees are expected to total $1,982,536. The difference is approximately $500,000. Many summer school courses are not intended to be fully fee-supported.

14. Why is MCPS proposing that preschool special education classes be added at this time?

MCPS developed the proposal because we believe that it is the right thing to provide a public preschool option for our families and their children. The number of prekindergarten special education students is continuously increasing. Students with disabilities, including our youngest learners, have a wide range of needs that require a variety of settings, services, classroom configurations, staffing patterns and parent support. Over the past several years, MCPS established public prekindergarten programs to meet those needs. Specialized classes were strategically added as public school options over the past several years in response to more sophisticated analysis of student needs, the development of specific instructional and therapeutic approaches that met those needs, and to give our families and Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams the option of a public program.

Beyond the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) to offer public programs, we believe that MCPS can effectively provide a high-quality educational experience for our youngest students and their families. The classes will provide a public preschool “community based” option that was previously unavailable through the Preschool Education Program (PEP). PEP is a well-established program that includes a range of high quality educational opportunities for our youngest students. The classes enhance opportunities for students and their families, building our capacity to serve all students.

An additional goal is to give families the opportunity to establish a relationship with a local school community close to their home. This goal is achieved by locating the classes throughout the county, with one class in each quad or quint cluster grouping. Students also will be able to interact with their nondisabled peers.

15. Is MCPS "closing" the Montgomery Primary Achievement Center (MPAC)?

No, MCPS has no authority to close MPAC, a nonpublic program which operates under The Arc of Montgomery County. The Maryland State Department of Education approves private (nonpublic) special education schools. MPAC has been, and remains, a valued partner with MCPS.

16. Will MCPS continue to refer students to MPAC?

Yes. Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams will continue to make individual decisions regarding student placement. Teams will consider the full continuum of service locations, including public and nonpublic options and placement at MPAC, for students whose needs cannot be met in a public program. Including a public option in an elementary school setting simply expands the scope of programs available to meet the meet the individual needs of our students.

17. Will students currently enrolled in MPAC be moved to MCPS special education preschool classes this school year?

No. Students currently placed at MPAC will not be moved to MCPS during this school year.

18. How will placement decisions for the 2010–2011 school year be made for students enrolled in MPAC for the 2009–2010 school year?

As always, placement decisions will be made through the IEP process. MCPS will hold an annual review meeting for students currently placed by MCPS at MPAC. Services and placement decisions will be made by the IEP team. Consistent with the process, student progress and ongoing needs will be considered by the team. Again, there is no intent to uniformly move students from MPAC to the MCPS classes in the future.

19. What are the needs of students who will be served by the proposed classes?

Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities that significantly impact cognitive, speech/language, social, behavioral, and functional skills will be eligible for the proposed MCPS PEP classes.

20. How do these new classes differ from existing PEP classes?

While current PEP classes serve students with a wide range of significant developmental disabilities, most PEP classes provide a half-day program. The proposed classes will offer a five-hour day to students who require a more intensive service delivery model.

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Updated February 19, 2010 | Maintained by Web Services