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 31-40


31. Will the addition of six prekindergarten classes be more cost effective than funding a nonpublic program?

The proposal represents a long-term investment in MCPS’ capacity to serve preschoolers with significant developmental delays. The proposal is cost-neutral because it is predicated on the realignment of funds from the nonpublic budget.

32. How many bus route supervisors are there in the operating budget request and what is the total cost?

Budget Page Reference: 7-83

The total number of bus route supervisor positions in the FY 2011 operating budget is 80.0 FTE. Total salary costs associated with these positions, including employee benefits, is $5,624,929. However, since bus route supervisors drive or attend on buses for half of their day, which provides a first-hand view of bus routes and the performance of the employees assigned to those routes, the actual cost of this supervisory model is $2,812,465.

The bus route supervisor (BRS) position was added to the Department of Transportation (DOT) operations supervisory structure following a labor-management study of supervision in the department. The change was deemed necessary to effectively implement the Supporting Services Professional Growth System (SSPGS) in the DOT. The previous ratio of first-line supervisors to bus attendants and bus operators was 1:80. The BRS position was created to reduce that ratio to 1:20. Implementation was phased in over four years. To complete the implementation in year four, the ratio was changed to 1:25 (again with the supervisor being a .5 position and either driving or attending for the other half of the day) to make the final year of implementation less costly.

The primary functions of the BRS position is to provide direct supervision to a group of 25 bus attendants and bus operators and to provide the on-the-road component of supervision to overall school bus operations. BRS’s interact with school administrators and other transportation related school staff on a regular basis. They respond to service complaints from schools, parents and the general public quickly.

33. Do we still have buses going to locations outside of Montgomery County to pick up employees? If so, please provide details of the program including cost and frequency.

Budget Page Reference: 7-83

Approximately 30 buses assigned to the Clarksburg Depot are parked overnight at employee homes and other locations on a daily basis. This is due to the severe overcrowding at the depot, which was originally designed to park 101 buses, but now serves well over 200. Most of the alternate parking locations are within Montgomery County or within a few miles outside of the county in neighboring counties.

Two buses travel longer distances to their overnight parking locations and “shuttle” employees between home and work, which relieves the need to park these buses at the depot overnight. One bus travels to Charlestown, West Virginia and the other travels to Hagerstown, Maryland. Each bus transports an average of twelve employees. The “shuttle” program cost totals $13,949, of which fuel is the major cost component.

34. Is there a TerraNova target that is being reduced from 50 percent to 45 percent? Why?

Budget Page Reference: Page 1–8

There are no plans to reduce the 50th Normal Curve Equivalent (NCE) as an expectation for student performance on the TerraNova (TN-2). While there is no current target, data are published at and above the 50th NCE in the Annual Report. In addition, the Board and principals received a memorandum in August 2009 which reported data at or above the 50th NCE as well as at or above the 70th percentile. These data are reported by No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) groups in the aggregate for the system and also reported for each elementary school. In addition, TN-2 data is available on the MCPS website.

35. What is the cost of the proposed expansion of the gradebooks to 5 more elementary schools? What staff will be involved the expansion?

Budget Page Reference: FY 2011 Program Budget – Page 11

The implementation of a web-based electronic standards-based gradebook for elementary schools will be expanded to nine elementary schools next year. All teachers of Grades 1-5 students and administrators in the nine elementary schools will be involved in the expansion. The expansion does not require any additional hardware. Teachers enter grades on a computer and the grades in the gradebooks are exported to generate report cards. The only cost related to the expansion will be for professional development. The professional development will be funded using existing professional development funds.

35. What is the cost of the proposed expansion of the gradebooks to 5 more elementary schools? What staff will be involved the expansion?

Budget Page Reference: FY 2011 Program Budget – Page 11

The implementation of a web-based electronic standards-based gradebook for elementary schools will be expanded to nine elementary schools next year. All teachers of Grades 1-5 students and administrators in the nine elementary schools will be involved in the expansion. The expansion does not require any additional hardware. Teachers enter grades on a computer and the grades in the gradebooks are exported to generate report cards. The only cost related to the expansion will be for professional development. The professional development will be funded using existing professional development funds.

36. The FY 2011 Program Budget includes funds for consultant expenses. What consultants are expected to be hired? What will the consultants do for the school system for the contract price indicated? What is the benefit to the school system of the consultant project being purchased? What is the ultimate classroom benefit of the consultant project being purchased?

Budget Page Reference: Various

MCPS hires consultants to perform a wide variety of services. Consultants provide these services because MCPS staff does not have the expertise to provide the service in-house, or the cost to hire permanent employees to do the work would be higher than the cost of consultants. While preparing the FY 2011 budget, requests for funds for consultants were carefully reviewed. Attached is a chart prepared by staff that lists the amount currently budgeted for consultants by department/unit, the amount requested for FY 2011, and a description of the purpose of the proposed funding. Funds for consultants budgeted in grant and enterprise fund programs are not included in the list.

Attachment A (PDF)

37. Why are there zero dollars budgeted for textbooks and instructional supplies in the Enriched & Innovative Programs budget. Does this mean the system will not be purchasing any William & Mary materials? Does it mean the system will not be purchasing any IB materials?

Budget Page Reference: FY 2011 Program Budget – Page 86

Instructional materials funds for special programs and Enriched and Innovative Programs were realigned to the K-12 budget for FY 2010, and are shown in the Elementary, Middle, and High Schools program budgets on pages 9, 38, and 59. Funds are allocated to local schools’ general instructional materials accounts. Special programs such as the International Baccalaureate programs purchase instructional materials through school instructional materials accounts. William and Mary instructional materials also are purchased by schools through their instructional materials accounts.

38. Why are there 27 paraeducators in the Enriched & Innovative Programs budget? What do these paraeducators do?

Budget Page Reference: Program Budget – Page 87

While regular paraeducator positions are allocated solely on total school enrollment, these positions are allocated based on specific needs within a school. For example, grouping for mathematics may result in a large math class in one grade. Rather than allocate an entire teacher where one is not necessary, a paraeducator may be allocated to provide support in that classroom.

The 27 special program paraeducator positions are allocated to elementary schools based on specific program needs. The positions are used to:

  • support larger classes;
  • provide support to small groups in mathematics and reading;
  • provide support in immersion programs, highly gifted center programs, and other specific school programs;
  • provide support to ESOL students; and
  • provide support to other students identified as needing additional support.

39. Has the formula for the allocation of hours-based staffing for special needs children been changed since it was presented to the Special Population Committee?

Budget Page Reference: N/A

Currently, there are four formulas for hours-based staffing. Two of the formulas are for the elementary level—Home School Model and Resource only schools (see Attachment A). The remaining two formulas are for the middle school level—schools identified for hours-based staffing using local funds and schools identified for hours-based staffing using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds (see Attachment B). While all formulas are under review for effectiveness, there have been no changes at this time.

Attachment A
Attachment B

40. There is a request for $4,088,844 under “Miscellaneous” in the budget for Professional Growth System. Please give a breakdown of what expenditures are anticipated in that figure.

Budget Page Reference: FY 2011 Program Budget – Page 157

The $4,088,844 is budgeted for the tuition reimbursement program, as follows:

  • Tuition- Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals (MCAAP): $80,000
  • Tuition- Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA): $3,478,844
  • Tuition- Service Employees International Union, Local 500 (SEIU): $530,000
  • Total: $4,088,844

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Updated February 19, 2010 | Maintained by Web Services