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FY 2016 Budget Questions and Answers

During the budget process, questions asked by members of the Board of Education are compiled. Appropriate staff from Montgomery County Public Schools answer the questions as soon as all information has been gathered to respond in full. The questions and answers are also made available to the public on this website.

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

Questions 1-10

 

1. Please justify the proposal to add two .5 communication specialists for translation of Amharic and Spanish documents rather than the use of contractual translation services. What would be the cost savings if these services were provided by contract rather than additional FTE? What would be the programmatic impact if all the translation services provided by the 5 FTE in this office were obtained by contract? What would be the cost savings?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE:  Chapter 11-20

ANSWER:

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2006, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) committed to elevating the quality of translation services as part of its overall parent engagement strategy. A multi-year budget initiative was developed resulting in the creation of a unit that provides professional translation services to ensure that MCPS communicates information to parents and community members about curriculum, educational programs and services, assessment, instruction, and reporting with the same level of quality and efficiency that is afforded to English-speaking members of our community. One of the benefits of having employed translators in lieu of contractors is the ability to always ensure a high level of quality of translation services. To date, the Language Assistances Services Unit has been very effective in increasing the number of documents translated for our families. In addition to translation services, LASU also oversees interpretation services for the district and processes thousands of requests every year, as shown in the table below.

Translation Services Face to Face Interpretation Services
Fiscal Year Number of Pages Translated Number of Languages Number of Requests Number of Languages
2015 as of Jan. 7, 2015 1,498 6 5,332 59
2014 2,812 8 11,604 62
2013 2,002 7 10,194 74
2012 1,731 12 8,966 65
2011 2,089 10 8,326 44

In addition, there are legal reasons to support a high quality in house translation unit. To maintain safe harbor against civil rights violations under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order 13166, the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) recommends providing language assistance services for those languages that are spoken by at least 1,000 persons, or at least five percent of an entity's population, whichever is less. Based on official ESOL enrollment data as of October 31, 2014, Amharic is now the third most commonly spoken language represented in the ESOL population, spoken by 902 ESOL students (3.83 percent the ESOL population). However, we know that many more families need Amharic translations than our ESOL families. For example, we typically provide about 2,000 copies to our schools in Amharic when we translate systemwide documents. Likewise, Spanish continues to be the most common language represented in the ESOL population, spoken by 15,924 students (67.55 percent of the ESOL population). However in general, we typically provide about 27,000 copies of documents in Spanish for our families who are native Spanish speakers.

This enhancment to add a .5 Amharic translator and a .5 Spanish translator, will benefit all MCPS schools and offices because of the increased capacity and range of services offered by LASU, which provides proven professional translation services, reducing the fragmentation, inefficiency, and inaccuracies that may result from translations completed by outside consultants. The increased demand for timely translation requests requires a more effective and efficient system that is dedicated to this task. The growing enrollment of Amharic-speaking students, approaching the number required to maintain "safe harbor" according to the opinion of the USDOJ, makes this expansion of the Translation Unit's range of languages important.

Since MCPS routinely requests translations in Amharic, the LASU must use outside contractors on a regular basis. In fact, the volume of these routine requests has resulted in the LASU exhausting several Amharic contractors, and has created significant delays in generating high quality, timely translations in Amharic. Hiring a 0.5 FTE Amharic translator will create more stable, effective, and efficient translations in Amharic. The demand for Spanish translation continues to increase as well and the number of translations requested in Spanish far exceeds those requested in any other language. Yet, there is only 1.0 FTE Spanish translator, resulting in the need to use several contractors to respond to the volume of routine and urgent translation requests in Spanish. This arrangement hampers our ability to provide efficient and effective translations in Spanish. An additional 0.5 FTE Spanish translator will provide much needed additional capacity in generating routine and emergency Spanish translations.

This translation service directly addresses the Board of Education's operating budget interests by meeting the needs of each individual child (in particular Latino and Ethiopian students), supporting community engagement efforts, and focusing on all students to ensure they have equity of access to materials so that outcomes are not predictable by race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. The additional two 0.5 FTE translators also will directly address the MCPS Strategic Planning Framework by meeting the core value of "relationships" by building strong relationships with students, family, staff, and community to support learning. The ability to distribute MCPS documents to students and families in the language spoken at home will help us prepare all students to thrive in their future.

The table below provides a summary of contract translation expenses for Spanish and Amharic from July 1, 2013 through January 7, 2015.

Spanish FY 2014 $15,950.00
Spanish FY 2015 as of January 7, 2015 $6,630.00
Grand Total for Spanish $22,580.00
Amharic FY 2014 $24,135.00
Amharic FY 2015 as of January 7, 2015 $11,985.00
Grand Total for Amharic $36,120.00

While there would not necessarily be cost savings associated with adding employees versus the continued use of contractors, we will be able to greatly increase the number of documents we are translating by having this additional capacity.

If all six translator positions were eliminated, it would reduce the budget by about $650,000. The programmatic impact of such a reduction would greatly diminish MCPS capacity to provide translated materials to our families for whom English is not their first language. This would hamper engagement efforts at a time when MCPS is seeking to increase familial involvement. In addition, the elimination of these positions also would put MCPS in jeopardy of non-compliance with federal law as discussed above.


2. What services are provided by the proposed 23 Transportation Cluster Managers and the proposed 80.5 Bus Route Supervisors in the Department of Transportation (DOT)? Are both these positions necessary? What would be the impact on services if either of these positions was reduced or eliminated? What would be the budget savings if these positions were eliminated? What would be the savings if either position was converted to a 10 month position? What would be the impact of such a conversion?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: Chapter 8-73

Answer:

Bus Route Supervisors (80.5) are responsible for direct supervision of approximately 25 bus operators and bus attendants. Duties and responsibilities include:

  • Observation on the routes
  • On-the-road supervisory presence
  • Ensuring compliance with COMAR requirements
  • Human relations functions and counseling staff, parents and students
  • Conducting periodic team meetings, safety assemblies at schools, annual bus route reviews and investigation of unsafe route conditions
  • Conducting random, reasonable suspicion, and post-accident drug testing
  • Conducting behind-the-wheel evaluations and bus attendant on-the-job observations
  • Investigating accidents
  • Dispatching
  • Driving morning or afternoon routes daily
  • Responding to and resolving complaints

Transportation Cluster Managers (23.0) are responsible for the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Direct supervision of 3 or 4 bus route supervisors
  • Communicating with principals, staff, students, and communities to resolve problems, address student issues, review route timing, etc.
  • Facilitating relationships between principals and school staff with drivers/attendants
  • Visiting schools on a weekly basis
  • Presenting at cluster meetings and principal meetings
  • Fostering positive relationships with schools and communities
  • Ensuring that all safety standards are met
  • Conducting school bus evacuation drills
  • Participation on the Depot Leadership Team and School Safety Teams
  • Coordinating school bus safety inspections
  • Establishing and revising bus schedules and routes
  • Writing, reviewing, and submitting reports
  • Investigating accidents and making recommendations regarding preventability
  • Presenting at annual in-service meetings
  • Participating at community meetings, Parent Teacher Association meetings, representing the best interests of students, DOT and all stakeholders
  • Functioning as department-wide late duty manager on a rotating basis

If the 80.5 bus route supervisor positions were eliminated, the transportation cluster managers would have to assume the responsibilities of these positions. This would also increase the ratio of employees per supervisor to approximately 80 to 1.

If both positions were eliminated, all of the above responsibilities for both positions would need to be assumed by the Depot Managers.

Most of the duties described for the positions continue during summer operations when 500 buses per day are running. In addition, much of the planning and preparation for the upcoming school year takes place during the summer, and is performed by transportation cluster managers and bus route supervisors.

Budget Savings and Impact:

If 80.5 bus route supervisor (BRS) positions are eliminated, the reduction would be $5,076,540. However, since 40.0 FTE bus operator 10-month positions would have to be added to the budget, the net reduction to the budget would be $2,538,270, including employee benefits. If 23.0 transportation cluster managers (TCM) positions are eliminated, the reduction to the budget would be $1,450,449, including employee benefits. To the extent possible, these employees would fill vacant bus operator positions.

If both positions were converted to 10-month status, the total reduction to the budget would be $1,342,550 for BRS positions and $392,605 for TCM positions, including employee benefits.

The efficiency and effectiveness of DOT has improved over the years due in part to the work of the bus route supervisors. Supervisors provide meaningful supervision to bus operators and bus attendants. These positions need supervision since they work outside of the presence of their supervisor and are responsible for the safety and supervision of students. Eliminating either of these positions, or changing them to 10-month status would have significant impacts on the operation of DOT.

DOT has experienced the loss of many potential supervisory candidates to other departments in MCPS, as bus operators with supervisor potential sought 12-month position status, even though many preferred to build a career in transportation. DOT still provides many qualified candidates to other areas in MCPS, but is now able to retain many of the best and brightest to serve as transportation leaders. Reducing bus route supervisors to 10-month positions would likely result in staff taking other MCPS positions.


3. What services are provided by the proposed 89.125 Instructional Data Assistants for Elementary Schools and the 29.8 Instructional Data Assistants for Middle Schools? Please review staffing at surrounding school systems to see how these services are provided there? Can these services be provided by other staff? What would be the impact of the elimination of all or some of these positions? What would be the budget savings if these positions were eliminated?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: Chapter 1-3 and 1-11

Answer:

The elementary and middle school instructional data assistant (IDA) positions provide support with the collection, analysis, and dissemination of instructional data. The IDA extracts data from system-wide databases preparing reports for use by teachers and administrators. School administrators and teachers use data regularly to monitor student performance, identify areas of need, and adapt instruction.

IDA duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Inputs, downloads, organizes, and analyzes student data used for instructional purposes using shared accountability and local school databases.
  • Develops and prints reports on student data.
  • Suggests relationships between data trends, curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
  • Responds to data requests from administrators and teachers.
  • Designs and conducts presentations of data and associated data analysis to school, school system, and community groups.
  • Maintains and updates class lists and rosters, and assists with sectioning of students. (elementary schools only)
  • Provides support with testing administration, especially Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing.

The reduction or elimination of IDA positions would significantly impact the workload of school administrators and teachers who would need to assume full responsibility for collecting, organizing, and analyzing data for testing administration. Sectioning of students would need to be performed by school secretaries.

A request for staffing data from surrounding school systems was made and to date only Fairfax County Public Schools has provided information. Fairfax County Public Schools does not staff for instructional data positions. However, they do allocate funds to pay temporary part-time salaries to employees to assist with testing. Elementary schools with less than 600 students are allocated $3,500 while schools with greater than 600 students are allocated $5,000. Each middle school is allocated $9,200 for school testing requirements.

The budget savings as a result of eliminating the 89.125 elementary school IDA positions, including employee benefits is $4,285,397. The budget savings as a result of eliminating the 29.8 middle school IDA positions, including employee benefits is $1,251,987.


4. What services are provided by the proposed 145.125 Lunch Hour Aides for elementary schools? Please review staffing at surrounding school systems to see how these services are provided there? Can these services be provided by other staff? What would be the impact of the elimination of all or some of these positions? What would be the budget saving if these positions were eliminated?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: Chapter 1-3

Answer:

Lunch hour aides monitor student activities and behavior on the playground and in the cafeteria during student lunch periods. Duties include:

  • Monitoring and supervising elementary students on the playground and during lunch periods.
  • Supervising playground/recreational activities, including the individual use of equipment and participation in group games.
  • Maintaining order and decorum in the cafeteria and reinforcing student manners, eating habits, and cleanup procedures.
  • Enforcing safety rules, behavior standards, and school playground/cafeteria policies.
  • Providing for students' emergency first aid needs during recess and lunch periods.

While other staff members could provide the service of lunch hour aides, the lunch hour is the time when other staff members are provided their duty free lunch period and planning time. As a result, other staff cannot assume these responsibilities.

A request for staffing data from surrounding school systems was made and to date only Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has provided information. According to the FCPS budget office, temporary part-time salaries funds are allocated to each elementary school for dining room assistants. The allocation formula used by FCPS provides the following:

The budget savings as a result of eliminating these positions, including employee benefits is $4,688,989.


5. What services are provided by the proposed 7 Reading Support Teachers for Elementary Schools? Please review staffing at surrounding school systems to see how these services are provided there? Can these services be provided by other staff? What would be the impact of the elimination of all or some of these positions? What would be the budget savings if these positions were eliminated?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: Chapter 1-3

Answer:

The seven positions are allocated at .5 FTE to the 14 most highly impacted schools. Each school determines how to best use the .5 FTE position to meet the needs of the students at the school. This could be in the form of implementing a Reading Recovery Program which includes daily, intensive, individualized instruction to three to four first graders for every .5 FTE position. Or, it could be in the form of implementing another type of reading support program at a school.

Reading Recovery (RR) is a short-term early intervention designed to help the lowest-achieving readers in first grade reach average levels of classroom performance in reading and writing. Identified students meet individually with a specially trained RR teacher every school day for a 30-minute intensive, individualized lesson. The purpose of the lesson is to support rapid acceleration of each child's literacy learning.

For schools using the position for interventions, teachers work with small groups of students to accelerate reading progress. For example, at one elementary school the .5 FTE is used for targeted reading interventions where the teacher meets with up to six students at time for intensive reading interventions three times per week for 25 minutes.

Reducing or eliminating these positions would reduce services to students who require more intensive support resulting in a negative impact on achievement. For example, students who participated RR "progressed nearly two months faster than similar peers who did not participate in the intervention, and gained nearly 30 percent more learning during the year than the average 1st grader nationally, according to the "Evaluation of the i3 Scale-up of Reading Recovery: Year One Report, 2011 – 2012."

The staffing data from other surrounding school systems is pending and will be provided as soon as it is available. The budget savings as a result of eliminating these positions, including employee benefits is $474,299.


6. What services are provided by the proposed 49.125 English Composition Assistant for High Schools? Please review staffing at surrounding school systems to see how these services are provided there? Can these services be provided by other staff? What would be the impact of the elimination of all or some of these positions? What would be the budget savings if these positions were eliminated?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET REFERENCE PAGE: Chapter 1-18

Answer:

The high school English composition assistant (ECA) performs specialized instructional work in English composition by assisting English teachers by reading, providing feedback and guidance with student writing. Examples of duties include:

  • Assists the English teaching staff by working with individual students or small groups in all phases of the in-class writing process.
  • Reads and corrects student compositions; provides students oral and written guidance for revising and improving their written work.
  • Tutors students or small groups on matters of grammar, usage, mechanics, rhetoric, and other areas of writing skill deficiencies.
  • Instructs and support students in English computer lab.
  • Confers with the English resource teacher and the English department as a whole to evaluate and plan improvements in composition instruction.

The support ECAs provide cannot be performed by other staff as it requires expertise in English and writing. If the positions were eliminated or reduced, students would receive less frequent and specific feedback on their writing. Students would have fewer opportunities to receive individual writing instruction based on their area of need, and students who do not have access to computers at home would have fewer opportunities to access technology at school. The effects of the reduction or elimination of the positions would especially impact students who struggle with written expression, particularly students with disabilities, students impacted by poverty, and English Language Learners. English teachers would have to assume the responsibilities if the positions were eliminated or reduced. Staffing data from surrounding school systems is pending and will be provided as soon as it is available. The budget savings as a result of eliminating these positions, including employee benefits, is $2,327,002.


7. What is the cost for the step increase scheduled for October 3, 2015? What is the cost for the longevity increase scheduled for October 3, 2015? What is the cost for the general wage adjustment scheduled for October 3, 2015?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: N/A

Answer:

The total cost of providing a step/longevity increase and a 2 percent general wage adjustment (GWA) on October 3, 2015 is $68.4 million. The FY 2016 budget includes $56.9 million. In addition, $11.5 million will be needed in FY 2017 to annualize the October 3, 2015 step. Below is a chart that displays the components of the figures.

Fiscal Year Budget Step/Longevity Payments ($ in millions GWA ($ in millions) Total ($ in millions)
FY 2016 $ 26.9 $ 30.0 $ 56.9
FY 2017 5.5 6.0 11.5
TOTAL $32.4 $36.0 $ 68.4

A further breakdown of the step/longevity payments numbers is not available.


8. How does the proposed budget address the needs of unaccompanied youth? Specifically, please identify changes needed for our ESOL, METS, and SEPA programs? Do these children need additional mental or other health care services by MCPS? How does the proposed budget address these needs?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: Chapter 5-53, Chapter 4-55

Answer:

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) reports that 1,117 unaccompanied minors were placed in Montgomery County in 2014. From July 1 to October 31, 2014, our peak enrollment summer months, there was a significant increase in the enrollment of international students, with 2,352 students enrolled compared to 1,886 from 2013, an increase of 466 students. Enrollment in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) was impacted by students coming from Central America, specifically El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. It is important to note that families are not obligated to provide ORR paperwork at the time of enrollment. As a result, MCPS data for unaccompanied minors do not match ORR data. Nevertheless, we continue to enroll significantly higher numbers of students from these three Central American countries. The FY 2016 budget addresses the needs of unaccompanied youth by facilitating enrollment processing and providing the instructional and staff support they need for academic success.

Any student who has not attended a U.S. school during the prior two years must contact the Division of School Counseling, Residency, and International Admissions (SCRIA) to begin the enrollment process. Thus, unaccompanied youth, also known as unaccompanied minors, who were placed with relatives/friends in Montgomery County begin their enrollment process at SCRIA. The enrollment process includes the intake review; an English language proficiency test for students who speak languages other than, or in addition to, English; and a visit to the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) health clinic for a review of immunization records. Health services, if needed, are provided by DHHS. After the enrollment process is completed, families/students go to their assigned schools for final registration. To address the need for additional staff during the summer and January peak enrollment periods, temporary part-time funds were added to the FY 2015 Operating Budget. This increased SCRIA's temporary part-time funding by approximately $30,000 to $73,000. The FY 2016 budget proposal maintains this level of funding.

Enrollment in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program continues to increase, with an official FY 2015 prekindergarten through Grade 12 ESOL enrollment of 21,463 students, an increase of 1,525 students since FY 2014. In FY 2016, a total of 36.5 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) additional ESOL teachers are included to support this record number of ESOL students.

Unaccompanied minors enrolling in our schools most often qualify for ESOL services and have interrupted or limited formal education. ESOL students with interrupted or limited formal education receive additional support through the Multidisciplinary Educational Training and Support (METS) program to address gaps in reading and mathematics. To support the record influx of unaccompanied minors who qualify for METS, 13.6 of the 36.5 FTE ESOL teachers added to the budget are designated as additional METS teachers needed to support unaccompanied youth. An additional 5.0 FTE METS paraeducators also are included in the FY 2016 budget. To address the unique counseling needs of high school METS students, the FY 2016 budget maintains 7.0 FTE itinerant ESOL counselors who are bilingual in English and Spanish.

The counseling needs of elementary and middle school METS students are supported in the FY 2016 budget by maintaining 10.7 FTE ESOL transition counselors. The FY 2016 budget also maintains 3.0 FTE itinerant ESOL counselors who are bilingual in languages other than Spanish to support the counseling needs of ESOL students who do not speak Spanish.

In the FY 2016 budget, a 0.4 FTE ESOL teacher is maintained to support students enrolled in the Students Engaged in Pathways to Achievement (SEPA) program. SEPA is a career readiness program designed for older METS students who will not earn a high school diploma by the end of the school year in which they become 21 years of age. SEPA may be appropriate for unaccompanied minors after they have been enrolled in their assigned school for at least one semester.

Regarding the need for any changes in the existing programs, two project teams (International Student Enrollment and International Student Supports and Resources) currently are working to address the enrollment process and supplemental supports, including mental health services. To ensure that all international students begin school in a timely manner and receive the additional supports they may need, the two teams are developing recommendations for consideration by members of an MCPS and DHHS steering committee. MCPS also is represented on the Montgomery County Children Fleeing Violence Task Force. This group is focused on identifying additional supports needed by families and students from these countries and working in collaboration to provide these supports.


9. The proposed budget would begin a multiyear effort to implement the Home School Model at all elementary schools. What data or other evidence is available from schools where the Home School Model is currently used that would justify this expansion? Please quantify how those schools better meet the needs of students with disabilities?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: Chapter 5-18

Answer:

The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Strategic Planning Framework, Building Our Future Together, establishes five district wide milestones to measure progress across all student demographic and service groups. All efforts focus on narrowing the achievement gap between students with disabilities and their nondisabled peers, by building teachers' capacity to instruct students with disabilities toward attainment of the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards (MCCRS), in the least restrictive environment.

Since 2005, MCPS has consistently exceeded the state target for the percentage of students with disabilities receiving instruction in the general education environment. According to the October 25, 2013, Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Census Data Report, 67.35 percent of MCPS students with disabilities, ages 6 to 21 years old, are served in the general education environment for more than 80 percent of the school day. This exceeds the state target of 63.11 percent by 4.24 percent.

For the 2014-2015 school year, the Home School Model (HSM) is being implemented in 68 elementary schools. This service delivery model ensures access to the general education curriculum and includes consultation, resources, and small-group instruction to address the needs of students with disabilities. HSM staffing allocations are based on the cumulative hours of special education instructional services documented on students' Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each neighborhood school, rather than on the traditional child count. This approach is similar to the hours-based staffing used at the middle school level and takes into consideration the severity and intensity of a student's instructional needs reflected in the hours of service on the IEP, rather than relying on the premise that all students with disabilities require an equal amount of service and staffing. HSM elementary schools are able to offer programs for students who previously received services outside of their home school, while providing increased access to rigorous instruction.

It is challenging to quantify how HSM schools are better able to meet the needs of students with disabilities in terms of standardized assessments because MCPS, as is the entire state of Maryland, is transitioning to the MCCRS, preparing for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, and shifting to curriculum 2.0.


10. Please provide the proposed FY 2016 budget compared to actual expenditures for FYs 2013, 2014, and projected 2015, across all offices for the following:
Professional substitutes
Stipends
Professional Part-time
Consultants
Other Contractual
Local/Other Travel

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference:  N/A

Answer:

In reviewing unit budget requests and formulating the operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the Department of Management, Budget, and Planning reviews actual expenditures trends account by account to determine if amounts should be increased, reduced, or realigned to higher priority needs. However, when developing the budget, actual expenditures for the current year are not available. For example, the FY 2015 budget was developed in the fall of FY 2014, and FY 2014 was just beginning. Therefore, FY 2013 actual data was the latest year of data available. Similarly, FY 2014 actuals were the latest year of actuals available when the FY 2016 budget was developed.

The following chart provides budgeted and actual expenditures for FY 2013 and FY 2014, and budgeted amounts for FY 2015 and FY 2016. The amounts exclude amounts in grants and enterprise funds. Projected actual amounts for FY 2015 are not included. It is too early based on the expenditure restrictions put in place on November 24, 2014. Explanations of the numbers are provided below.

Professional Substitutes:

For each new classroom teacher budgeted for growth in student enrollment, an amount is added for 11 short-term substitute days per teacher position. In addition, substitutes are budgeted for professional development and other school activities. While FY 2013 actual expenditures closely match the budget, FY 2014 actuals are lower than the FY 2014 budget due to less substitute usage. The lower usage can be partially explained by the fact that schools were closed for ten days due to weather emergencies and class coverage by substitutes was not required. In addition, some non-required training did not take place and was not rescheduled. The change from the FY 2014 budget to the FY 2015 budget is primarily a result of the impact of the general wage adjustment(GWA) approved for FY 2015 that was added for substitute salaries. The change from the FY 2015 to FY 2016 budget includes a reduction in the base budget due to realignment of $250,000 to long-term and sick and annual leave, and a reduction of $306,671 for kindergarten assessment professional learning. This if offset by $454,122 added for the impact of the FY 2016 GWA on substitute salaries.

Stipends:

A significant amount of the funds budgeted for stipends are for extracurricular activity stipends. In the budgets for FY 2013–FY 2016, extracurricular stipends account for 84 percent, 66 percent, 41 percent, and 41 percent of the total stipend budget, respectively. Other amounts for stipends are budgeted for professional learning and other activities outside of the school day or during the summer, curriculum development, and to pay staff for activities as designated in the negotiated agreements. The $1.1 million increase in the budget from FY 2014 to FY 2015 consists of an increase of approximately $358,000 for the change in the extracurricular stipend rate from $14 to $14.50 per hour, and approximately $721,000 related to new strategic enhancements. For FY 2016, $420,957 is added for stipends related to new strategic enhancements.

Supporting Services Part-time Salaries:

Actual expenditures for both FY 2013 and FY 2014, exceeded the amounts budgeted by approximately $1 million. However, the FY 2015 and FY 2016 budgeted amounts are more closely aligned with the FY 2014 actual figures. The FY 2015 amount is $1.5 million more than the amount budgeted for FY 2014. Of this increase, $278,333 is related to the fact that all supporting services part-time salaries were increased by the percent of the general wage adjustment (GWA) approved for FY 2015. Also, an increase of $729,457 was added to the budget for critical staffing paraeducators that provide services to special education students with highly intensive needs. The increase of $420,957 from the FY 2015 budget to the FY 2016 budget is a result of the GWA approved for FY 2016.

Consultants and Contractual Services:

For FY 2013 and FY 2014, actual expenditures exceeded budget amounts. This is largely the result of legal fees; consultants and contractual services for technology services due to position vacancies; contractual speech, occupational, and physical therapy services provided as a result of position vacancies, and contractual maintenance (snow removal) in the Division of Maintenance.

Local/Other Travel:

Most of the funds are budgeted to reimburse staff for local travel mileage based on the latest Internal Revenue Service rate per mile, and the number of miles that staff project to travel to complete their assigned job responsibilities. Actual expenditures for FY 2013 and FY 2014 are lower than the amounts budgeted, and it may be possible to reduce the amount budgeted for FY 2016 more than the $25,211 that was already cut. Funds for travel to conferences and for professional development make up between 22 to 29 percent of the budgeted amount. Small amounts are budgeted in several units across the organization. The largest amounts are budgeted in the K-12 budget, and for required International Baccalaureate (IB) program training which may be held across the country one year, and then held locally another year.

Questions 11-20

11. The proposed budget adds 5.5 additional counselors for schools impacted by poverty. What will be the staffing ratio for those schools with this addition?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: Chapter 1-18

Answer:

The current MCPS staffing guidelines are built on a ratio of 250 students to 1.0 FTE counselor position for high schools. This is an average ratio so it means schools will have schoolwide ratios of between 225 to 270 students to one counselor. The additional 5.5 counselor positions will be allocated to 11 high needs schools that currently have an average projected ratio of 251:1. By adding a .5 FTE at each of the 11 schools, the ratio at these schools will decrease to an average projected ratio of 235:1. These ratios do not included additional ESOL counseling services provided at these schools.


12. Please provide specific details and initiatives in the Superintendent's FY 2016 Operating Budget Request that address what MCPS is doing or proposing to do to close the achievement gap.

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE

ANSWER:

A key component of the multi-year budget plan that the superintendent of schools presented to the Board of Education starting with the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Operating Budget has been investments to close the achievement gap. It is important to note that the FY 2016 Recommended Operating Budget continues to fund strategic investments that were part of the FY 2014 and FY 2015 Operating Budgets. This includes, for example, strategic enhancements such as 30 middle school focus teachers, 21.2 high school English and mathematics focus teachers, and 10.5 English language development teachers to meet the needs of middle school students who are beginning to master the English language but are struggling in the classroom.

In addition, the FY 2016 Recommended Operating Budget continues the district's longstanding practice of providing additional funds to schools that serve the highest number of students living at or near the poverty line. For example the 67 elementary Focus schools receive, on average, approximately $1.9 million more than other schools. These funds are used to lower class size and provide more individualized instruction and support to bolster student achievement.

The superintendent's FY 2016 budget recommendation includes new strategic enhancements such as 5.0 math content coaches in elementary schools to build mathematics skills as early as possible. The budget adds 2.0 instructional specialists for the Equity Initiatives Unit to increase support to schools in developing the cultural competence and awareness of teachers and staff. The recommended budget includes 5.5 additional counselors at high schools that are more impacted by poverty and need extra staff to meet the social/emotional needs of students, coordinated academic support, and provide assistance with high school applications.

The budget adds a total of 12.5 additional elementary counselors, psychologists, and pupil personnel workers to continue the multi-year enhancement to improve the student services model to meet the social emotional needs of our students and reduce caseloads. The budget also adds a middle school coordinator position to continue implementation of our middle school improvement strategy and 5.8 teacher positions to allow middle school content specialists and team leaders more opportunities to serve staff. For high schools, the budget adds 10 teacher positions to provide additional release time for high school resource teachers to better fulfil their leadership responsibilities and 5 staff development teachers to provide additional time to help build professional learning communities and improving instruction and learning in high schools.

Other strategic enhancements that help close the achievement gap include two assistant school administrators to support the operations and management at two of our largest elementary schools as well as provide instructional leadership. The budget also adds 6 positions to help implement the redesign of our Interim Instructional Services unit providing instruction to students who temporarily cannot attend school due to illness or other circumstances. Funding is added to provide an upgraded version of READ 180, an effective reading intervention, to four additional schools.

Additional funding is included to support the establishment of the Children's Trust in Montgomery County that will support services to improve educational outcomes for children and families by addressing social determinants that impact the educational achievement gap. Funding is recommended to enhance teacher diversity through recruitment, selection, retention, and internal talent development.

There is funding to expand Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success, a collaborative program with Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove that supports students who come from backgrounds that are underrepresented in higher education and those who are the first in their family to attend college. Additional funding is included to provide more staff with training in the use of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol model, a proven, research-based approach that helps meet the individual language attainment and academic needs of students.

Strategic enhancements are not the only efforts to close the achievement gap. The base budget includes numerous system-wide and individual school programs that are designed to support students who are struggling and need help. One example is $1.9 million budgeted for middle school extended day and extended year programs. These resources are provided to schools that run a variety of programs depending on the individual needs of schools.

In addition, a completely redesigned Program Budget has been issued that is organized to demonstrate how the MCPS Operating Budget is aligned with the Strategic Planning Framework, Building Our Future Together. To reflect this alignment, MCPS programs have been categorized into six areas. Three of the areas include programs that are targeted to close the achievement gap with our students. One of those areas is titled "Programs that Provide Additional Support to Improve Student Achievement." Programs in this category include those that provide direct services to students to close the achievement gap. The resources and services provided by these particular programs are over and above the core general education programs and services reflected elsewhere in the Program Budget. These programs total $637.4 million for FY 2016.

The second areas is titled "Collaborative Partnership Programs to Improve Student Achievement." Programs in this category are those that MCPS administers in partnership with other governmental, business, and community entities to support the instructional and social emotional needs of students and close the achievement gap. These program total $15.1 million for FY 2016.

The third area is titled "Programs to Support School Improvement and Ensure High Quality Instruction." Programs in this category include those that focus on building the capacity of schools and staff to deliver the highest quality instruction. These programs total $135.1 million for FY 2016.

The Program Budget reflecting the Superintendent's Recommended FY 2016 Operating Budget was distributed to the Board of Education on January 13, 2015. It can also be found at the following webpage:
http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/budget/fy2016/superintendent/index.aspx


13. What would be the budget savings if the pension contribution was based on the recommended actuarial rate rather than the Board policy that provides for a constant annual contribution rate of 5.73 percent of salaries? What would be the impact on achieving the 80 percent level for the Retirement and Pension system?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference:  N/A

Answer:

Based on the latest actuarial valuation, the recommended actuarial rate for the pension contribution for FY 2016 is 5.01 percent. On January 14, 2014, the Board authorized that the contribution rate to the pension fund would not be reduced below FY 2015 levels (5.73 percent) until the funding status of the plan reached 80 percent on an actuarial value method. The chart below shows the amount of savings if the contribution rate was based on the actuarial rate.

Board Actuarial
FY 2016 Local Salaries $1,463,681,431 $1,463,681,431
Percentage 5.73% 5.01%
Pension Contribution $83,868,946 $73,330,440
Savings Impact $10,538,506

At the close of FY 2014, the funding level for the Retirement and Pension System reached 73.26 percent. By maintaining a pension contribution rate of 5.73 percent, it is expected that an 80 percent funding level will be achieved by FY 2017.

However, if the rate applied to salaries was based on the actuarial valuation of 5.01 percent for FY 2016 only, then the Retirement and Pension System may not reach 80 percent funding until FY 2018 or beyond.


14. What are the costs of implementing a Middle Years IB Program at Sligo MS?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference:  1–11

Answer:

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a Grades 6 through 10 framework of academic challenge that encourages students to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world, and become critical and reflective thinkers. Costs vary from year-to-year based on the number of staff members requiring professional development and the IB fees charged. Adding a MYP at Sligo Middle School for FY 2016 would cost $101,430, based on an average size middle school. This includes $46,140 for substitutes; professional part-time salaries; travel for professional learning for staff; and dues, registration, and fees. The additional 0.8 teacher position (MYP coordinator) would cost $55,290, including employee benefits.

Other program and cost configurations for adding MYP to the Down County Consortium are indicated in items 2and 3 in the table below. Adding the MYP at a high school for FY 2016 would cost $78,436. This includes $37,782 for substitutes; professional part-time salaries; travel for professional learning; and dues, registration, and fees. The additional 0.6 teacher position in the high school (MYP coordinator) would cost $40,654, including employee benefits. It is expected that middle schools with MYP will provide an option for students to continue the program in Grades 9 and 10.

Program Configuration Annual Cost
1. MYP at only Sligo Middle School $101,430
2. MYP at Kennedy High School (Grades 9 and 10) (0.6 FTE coordinator) $78,436
3. MYP at Einstein High School (Grades 9 and 10) (0.6 FTE coordinator) $78,436

IB has an application process that typically takes two years to complete. To demonstrate readiness for the program, schools are required to show commitment to the IB philosophy, professional development, curriculum and assessment, and financial support from the school district administration and school board.


15. Please evaluate the early retirement incentive program recently announced by Howard County Public Schools, as described at this link:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-hcpss-retirement-program-0101-20141231-story.html

Should such a program like this or any other early retirement program be considered for MCPS? What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a program? What budget savings could be realized? How would such a program be implemented to generate savings in the FY 2016 budget?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: N/A

ANSWER:

The early retirement program approved by Howard County Board of Education on November 20, 2014, is estimated to save the Howard County Public Schools (HCPS) a total of $9.2 million over an eight year period. The HCPS early retirement program approved by its Board utilizes the services of the Educators Preferred Corporation (EPC) to manage the entire process for the school district including administering benefits for the individual employees. The early retirement program provides a monthly stream of incentive funding to the opting participant or their beneficiaries for a fixed number of years. The employee agrees, during a two month elective window, to terminate service with the school district on June 30, 2015.

The early retirement program is a one-time offer to only full-time employees who have 15 or more years of service with HCPS as of June 30, 2015. HCPS employees who have retired and were subsequently re-hired by HCPS are not eligible for the program.

The HCPS early retirement program is based on the assumption that 594 employees (of their total workforce of 8,111, or 7.3 percent) will elect to participate in the plan. This number was determined by an algorithm that the contractor, EPC, has developed having worked with multiple school districts in the past. The first year savings estimate of $1.6 million for HCPS is contingent on getting 594 employees to agree to the incentive while, at the same time, absorbing a penalty for early retirement.

In comparison, MCPS typically has about 550 employees retire per year, or 2.3 percent of the total workforce of 22,932 employees. Using the same 7.3 percent in HCPS' plan, MCPS' comparative number is 1,674, or 1,124 more employees than would be expected to retire in a normal year.

Savings from the HCPS early retirement program are primarily the result of salary savings as employees with at least 15 years of service and a higher salary being replaced with new hires earning lower salaries. While there are savings of $1.6 million in the first year of the HCPS program, by the second year, the early retirement incentive costs the school district more than it saves, essentially eliminating the savings from the first year. By the third year, the impact of the program is estimated to cost the HCPS a total $2.2 million. Only beginning in year four is there a steady stream of savings projected for HCPS that continues through year eight. All of this is contingent on HCPS getting 594 employees to participate and in particular job series.

The substantial majority of the projected savings for the HCPS program comes from teacher retirees; other categories of employees such as administrators, support professionals, and food service workers actually cost HCPS funding cumulatively over the eight year period of the program. The HCPS study assumes that more than half, or 310 of the 594 projected participants in the program, would be teachers.

An example of the HCPS early retirement program is as follows: a member of the Howard County Education Association who elects to receive the early retirement benefit will receive 100 percent of his/her 2014-2015 base salary, not to exceed $60,000. Other associations' members will receive 100 percent of their salaries not to exceed lesser amounts. For example, AFSCME members will receive 100 percent of their salaries not to exceed $35,000. Those electing to receive the benefit will receive it over five years, divided into 60 equal monthly payments.

MCPS has not implemented an early retirement program in the past. Under the terms of our negotiated agreements as well as the time it takes to develop a program, it is would be nearly impossible to implement a program beginning in FY 2016. The Howard County program began with a study period beginning in September 2014. Teachers are incentivized through our negotiated agreement by a higher sick leave payment rate to give notice by April 1 for a July 1 retirement. The Maryland State Retirement Agency timeline to provide retirement benefits estimates to employees considering retirement is ten to twelve weeks, so it would be challenging for employees to have the information required to make a decision to participate.

To implement an early retirement program for a school district, it must be set up so that program does not cost more money than it saves. There is a trigger point such as with the HCPS program where a certain number of employees by employee association need to retire by a certain date or the school district loses money as a result. An analysis also needs to take into account the number of employees who were already planning to retire and would benefit from the buyout benefits of the early retirement program. As mentioned earlier, MCPS typically has approximately 550 employees retire each year and each of them would receive the benefit in addition to others who elect to retire as a result of the inventive.

In addition, real cost of the retirement incentive program needs to take into account added costs for recruitment, training, and other support for the new employees. The HCPS program spreads the incentive payment over several years. Another approach would be to provide the incentive as a one-time lump sum payment.

Some advantages of the early retirement incentive program are:

  • Provides promotion opportunities for employees into positions that are vacated.
  • Presents an opportunity to recruit a more diverse teacher workforce.

Some disadvantages of the early retirement incentive program are:

  • The HCPS early retirement program reflects relatively no savings by the second year, and will cost the school district $2.2 million by the third year.
  • The number of employees by association participating in the program is critical to achieving the projected savings. The HCPS study indicates the substantial majority of savings will come from teacher retirements but not from administrators and support professionals. If fewer teachers elect to participate in the program, then the projected savings will not materialize.
  • Loss of experienced employees.
  • Added training costs for new employees.
  • Increased recruiting costs for new employees.
  • Offering an early retirement program results in providing incentives to some employees who were going to retire anyway.
  • May present challenges to filling vacancies in critical shortage areas (special education, math, science).

We believe, as was mentioned during the Board of Education's worksession on January 20, 2015, that it would be beneficial to discuss consideration of an early retirement incentive program in greater detail at a future meeting of the Board's Fiscal Management Committee.


16. In some department budgets, the inflation adjustment for textbooks and instructional materials is eliminated in the proposed budget. What would be the savings if the inflation adjustment for textbooks and instructional materials was eliminated for all departments?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: Various

Answer:

A 3 percent inflation factor was initially budgeted in the amount of $897,217 for FY 2016 as follows:

Elementary Schools $ 380.776
Middle Schools 137,500
High Schools 206,499
Division of ESOL/Bilingual Programs 6,493
Department of Special Education Services 36,000
Division of School Plant Opertions 41,411
Division of Maintenance 88,537
$ 897,216

These amounts were reduced in the budget as part of the $8.2 million in program efficiencies and reductions.


17. What would be the budget savings if class sizes were increased by one student across all schools? What if elementary focus and Title One schools were exempted from such an increase?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference:  Chapter 1-3

Answer:

If class size guidelines were increased by one student across all schools, the budget savings would be approximately $16,939,250, including employee benefits, as a result of eliminating 250 classroom teacher positions. If elementary focus and Title 1 schools were exempt, the budget savings would be approximately $13,890,185, including employee benefits, as a result of eliminating 205 FTE classroom teacher positions.


18. What schools currently use the AVID program? What is the annual cost of this program? What data or other evidence supports this continuing expenditure?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 1-11

ANSWER:

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) targets students in the academic middle—B, C, and even D students—who have the desire to go to college, the willingness to work hard, and are capable of completing rigorous curriculum, but often move through school without any special recognition, and fall short of their potential. These students are often the first in their families to attend college and many are from socio-economically disadvantaged families. In the AVID elective class and throughout the school, students are held to higher expectations, enroll in more rigorous classes, and get the support they need to succeed and prepare for college.

Currently, AVID is in seven schools: Benjamin Banneker, Forest Oak, Col. E. Brooke Lee, and White Oak middle schools, and Northwood, Paint Branch, and Rockville high schools. This year, Paint Branch High School made a local school decision to institute AVID, which the school is supporting using local school funds. The annual cost of the program in the six schools is $122,656, which includes membership fees, professional learning, travel costs for teachers, and costs for college-age tutors to support the students in the AVID elective classes.

In 2013–2014, 299 students were enrolled in AVID at the six schools. The following shows the ethnicity/FARMS status of AVID students in these schools:

  • Asian—14 (5%)
  • Black or African American—89 (30%)
  • Hispanic or Latino—156 (52%)
  • Multi-Racial—10 (3%)
  • White—30 (10%)
  • FARMS—205 (67%)

Provided below is data on seniors in the AVID program at Rockville and Northwood high schools for 2009–2013.

Number Percentage
Enrolled in AVID 116
Met Entry Reqs 4 Yr College 110 95%
Graduated 116 100%
Took College Entry Exam 105 91%
Took 1 AP/IB Exam 100 86%
Applied 4 Yr. College 98 84%
Accepted 4 Yr College 63 54%

AVID has been offered at Forest Oak Middle School for three school years and at Benjamin Banneker, Col. E. Brooke Lee, and White Oak middle schools for two school years. Each school introduced the AVID elective class in Grade 7 and added a grade-level each year. Currently, Forest Oak Middle School offers the class in Grades 6-8, while the other three middle schools offer it in Grade 7-8. In Grades 6-8, the process of introducing students to more rigorous courses begins more gradually than in high school. The table below shows the percentage of middle school students enrolled in AVID who took honors level courses or higher level mathematics courses:

For all 4 middle schools 2012–14
(Benjamin Banneker, Forest Oak, Col. E. Brooke Lee, and White Oak middle schools)
# Enrolled % Enrolled
Total Enrolled 151
Enrolled in Honors excluding Mathematics 105 70%
Enrolled in Algebra I/Common Core Mathematics 30 20%

The table below shows percentage of students who have earned honor roll status with a B average this school year. Students can earn no more than one C and no grade below C to be eligible for honor roll.

Name of Middle School Year Honor Roll Percent of Students on Honor Roll
Benjamin Banneker 2014–2015 Grade 6 N/A
Benjamin Banneker 2014–2015 Grade 7 68%
Benjamin Banneker 2014–2015 Grade 8 43%
Forest Oak 2014–2015 Grade 6 78%
Forest Oak 2014–2015 Grade 7 76%
Forest Oak 2014–2015 Grade 8 64%
Col. E. Brooke Lee 2014–2015 Grade 6 N/A
Col. E. Brooke Lee 2014–2015 Grade 7 38%
Col. E. Brooke Lee 2014–2015 Grade 8 33%
White Oak 2014–2015 Grade 6 N/A
White Oak 2014–2015 Grade 7 64%
White Oak 2014–2015 Grade 8 17%

19. What are the total amounts budgeted for textbooks? Are all textbooks that will be purchased aligned with Curriculum 2.0 and other MCPS curriculum?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: Various

Answer:

The FY 2016 Superintendent's Recommended Operating budget includes $6.8 million for textbooks. However, the total amount budgeted for textbooks, media center materials, and instructional materials should be considered since schools may use their textbook allocations to purchase materials and vice versa, depending on their needs.

The FY 2016 Superintendent's Recommended Operating includes $27.5 million for textbooks, media center materials, and instructional materials. In addition to the school allocations, textbooks, media center materials, and instructional materials are purchased centrally. These purchases occur when there are systemwide needs. For example, if the curriculum requires a new textbook for a course or grade level, the purchases are made centrally to streamline the ordering process and provide savings through bulk ordering.

Textbooks purchased by MCPS are aligned with Curriculum 2.0 and other MCPS curriculum. To ensure textbooks are aligned, MCPS has a textbook selection and review process. Textbooks are reviewed by a content team review committee that is usually led by the curriculum content area supervisor. The committee checks for alignment to curriculum, representation of the diversity of MCPS, and models of instruction that challenge and engage all students.


20. What would be the savings in eliminating Staff Development Teachers?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: Chapter 1-3

Answer:

There are 194.5 staff development teacher positions throughout MCPS. If the positions were eliminated, the budget savings would be $13,178,737, including employee benefits.

Questions 21-30

21. What is the actual cost of introducing MYP (Middle Years Programme) at a Middle School? How does enrollment in the school factor into the decision to introduce a program and the cost?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference:  1–11

Answer:

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a Grade 6 through 10 framework of academic challenge that encourages students to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world, and become critical and reflective thinkers. Costs vary from year-to-year based on the number of staff members requiring professional development and the IB fees charged. Adding a Middle Years Programme to a school, based on an average sized school, for FY 2016 would cost $101,430. This includes $46,140 for substitutes; professional part-time salaries; travel for professional learning for staff; and dues, and registration, and fees. The additional 0.8 teacher position (MYP coordinator) would cost $55,290, including employee benefits.

Enrollment does not factor into the decision to introduce an IB Programme to a school. The annual fee for the MYP would be the same for all schools regardless of their enrollment. The operational cost for the program would be higher for a larger school due to the number of teachers attending the mandatory one day in-house introductory training for new schools. This cost is an average of $7,500 for the one day training which is typically done during teacher pre-service week during year two of the program.

When implementation begins, the cost for professional development, regardless of school size, is based on sending eight teachers to required IB training (one each in the eight IB MYP core subject areas - mathematics, language and literature, science, individuals and societies, design, language acquisition, physical education, and arts). In addition, the principal, an assistant principal, and the media specialist attend the training.

IB has an application process that typically takes two years to complete. To demonstrate readiness for the program, schools are required to show commitment to the IB philosophy, professional development, curriculum and assessment, and financial support from the school district administration and school board.


22. What is the current rate for extra-curricular activity fees and how much does it generate annually? How does this compare with Fairfax, Frederick, Howard and Prince George's County?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference:  N/A

Answer:

The extra-curricular activity (ECA) fee supports adult-supervised extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs for middle and high school students. Students who pay the fee are entitled to participate in one or more programs during the year. The ECA fee for Montgomery County Public Schools is $30.00 per student. However, some students pay a discounted price of $15.00, or no fee depending on their financial situation.

The amount of revenue generated for extra-curricular activity fees during FY 2013 and FY 2014 was $727,276 and $706,216, respectively.

The chart below shows the following costs for extra-curricular activity fees among other school districts:

County Amount
Fairfax No fee
Howard No fee
Frederick $90 per sport season
Prince George's No fee

23. What would a single day furlough save MCPS?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: N/A

Answer:

A furlough day in FY 2016, based on the Superintendent FY 2016 Recommended Operating Budget would save approximately $7.9 million, including employee benefits.


24. What would be the cost of reinstating the Superintendent's Leadership Program?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 4-9

ANSWER:

The Superintendent's Leadership Program was in place though FY 2014. In collaboration with the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education, we are exploring the possibility of implementing a different approach to continuing the Executive Leadership Program that could realize some cost savings. The resources in the amount of $50,841 for this program are budgeted in the FY 2016 budget.


25. Do we have a means for ensuring the safety of students who walk to school?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE:  N/A

ANSWER:

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is authorized by the regulations of the State of Maryland to provide safe and efficient transportation to the students residing in Montgomery County. The Board of Education is responsible for establishing the operational expectations and eligibility criteria for its student transportation services. It is the responsibility of the Board of Education to work with other agencies when needed and to consider the safety of students when designing school site plans. This includes pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns, assessing routes for walking to and from school and other school bus stops, and establishing bus routes and locations of school bus stops.

MCPS is responsible for conducting safety evaluations of bus stops and recommended walking routes. Students are expected to walk in residential areas along and across streets, with or without sidewalks. Students are expected to walk along primary roadways with sidewalks or shoulders of sufficient width to allow walking off the main road. Middle and high school students are expected to cross all controlled intersections where traffic signals, lined crosswalks, or other traffic control devices are available. Elementary school students may be required to cross primary roadways where an adult crossing guard is present.

Students are provided bus transportation, regardless of their distance from the school, unless there is a safe walking route that has been evaluated by the MCPS Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT staff reevaluates designated walking routes as needed, and often at the request of parents or students. DOT works with the Montgomery County Police in the placement of adult crossing guards to facilitate safe student walking. They work with county and state roads officials, and the Safe Access to Schools Program to ensure that appropriate signals, signage and sidewalks are available to facilitate safe walking.


26. Is there a professional development path that allows seasoned professionals who do not have teacher certification to transition into the profession?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 10-15

ANSWER:

The Higher Education Partnership Program is a learning community that fosters collaboration between institutions of higher education and MCPS to provide opportunities for the academic development of all staff, and mutually beneficial partnerships that build the capacity of MCPS and college/university staff. The mission of the program is to provide current MCPS staff and candidates seeking employment with MCPS with opportunities to further their education, extend their professional skills, conduct action research on problems of practice, engage in academic discussions, apply theoretical concepts, and increase their learning to better meet system wide priorities. There are three main higher education partnership program categories: teacher preparation, career enhancement, and leadership development. Enhancing and expanding the current partnerships is a significant long term strategy to develop teachers within MCPS through the Teacher Diversity Workforce Plan.

MCPS has several partnerships with local universities that are specifically targeted to internal employees with bachelor's degrees that are not currently certified in education. These partnerships are listed below.

MAT – Master of Art in Teaching, Special Education

MCPS partners with Towson University to prepare individuals with bachelor's degrees to become special educators. The program is designed to address MCPS special education needs in early childhood and at the elementary and secondary level. During the three-year course of study, individuals in the program work as MCPS paraeducators. Candidates who successfully complete the program graduate with a master's degree and certification in special education.

ProMAT – Professional Immersion Masters of Art in Teaching

MCPS partners with Johns Hopkins University to prepare individuals with bachelor's degrees to become teachers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) areas at secondary schools. Specific STEM areas of need are identified by MCPS. This partnership provides limited tuition support and individuals fill long-term substitute assignments during the final year of the program. Candidates who successfully complete the program graduate with a master's degree and certification in a secondary STEM content area. Upon successful completion of the program, candidates are also expected to commit to teach in MCPS for two years.

ACET – Alternative Certification for Effective Teachers

MCPS partners with Montgomery College to prepare individuals with a bachelor's degree in a high need content area to become teachers in secondary schools. The program is designed to address MCPS needs in critical shortage areas. Upon successful completion of the first semester, candidates are eligible to teach under a Resident Teacher Certificate. ACET candidates are recruited in areas such as:

  • High School: Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Technology Education
  • Middle School: Mathematics and Science
  • World Languages: French and Spanish (placement in middle and high schools, with PreK-12 certification).

Additionally, when an external candidate applies to a teaching position and is not certified in education, there are partnerships targeted to career changers that are primarily focused on recruiting paraeducators. These partnerships are listed below.

CITE – Creative Initiatives in Teacher Education

MCPS partners with the University of Maryland College Park to prepare individuals with bachelor's degrees to become elementary teachers. This program is designed to increase the recruitment of culturally diverse interns and provide them with the knowledge and understanding to support a multicultural student population. During the two-year course of study, individuals in the program work as MCPS paraeducators. Candidates who successfully complete this program graduate with a master's degree and elementary certification.

SET-IT – Special Education Teacher Immersion Training

MCPS partners with Johns Hopkins University to prepare individuals with bachelor's degrees to become special education teachers with a concentration in mild to moderate disabilities. During the two year course of study, individuals in the program work as MCPS paraeducators. Candidates who successfully complete the program graduate with a master's degree and certification in special education.


27. What was the result of the workgroups that were formed to examine the unique needs of small and large schools? How do we staff these schools?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 1-1

ANSWER:

The Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals (MCAAP) formed groups of principals to discuss the unique needs, experiences, and interests of small and large schools. The purpose of the groups was to share best practices and to provide information to MCAAP with respect to negotiations. MCPS staff was not included in these meetings. MCAAP indicates that they used information from these meetings during the negotiation process.


28. How do we formulate the ESOL staffing ratios? How do we deal with schools that experience mobility (both in and out) during the school year?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: 4-55

ANSWER:

To provide a more equitable approach to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) staffing, a proficiency-based ESOL staffing model was implemented for the first time this school year. This model provides additional ESOL staffing for beginning level ESOL students, since they need more time for ESOL instruction. A modified amount of ESOL staffing is provided for advanced level ESOL students, since advanced ESOL students receive less ESOL instructional time.

ESOL also provides additional support for ESOL students to learn academic English that is critical to their success in school. ESOL staffing has never been intended to meet all of the educational needs of ESOL students, since ESOL students are also counted and included in comprehensive staffing allocations for each school.

The proficiency-based ESOL staffing formulas shown in the table below are based on the enrollment of non-Multidisciplinary Education Training and Support (METS) ESOL students. METS students are those English language learners who have had limited or no previous schooling or significant schooling gaps due to interrupted or disrupted education. Schools that enroll additional ESOL students throughout the school year are allocated additional staffing through a reserve as resources permit. Efforts are underway to support schools in adjusting their master schedules to ensure that these resources are maximized to support ESOL instruction.

Elementary Non-METS ESOL Proficiency-based Staffing Formulas
ESOL Level Elementary School 2015–2016 (budgeted) Elementary School 2015–2016 (allocated)
ESOL 1 5.8 students = .20 FTE 6 students = .20 FTE
ESOL 2 5.8 students = .18 FTE 6 students = .18 FTE
ESOL 3 5.8 students = .16 FTE 6 students = .16 FTE
ESOL 4 7.8 students = .14 FTE 8 students = .14 FTE
ESOL 5 7.8 students = .10 FTE 8 students = .10 FTE
Secondary Non-METS ESOL Proficiency-based Staffing Formulas
ESOL Level Secondary Schools 2015–2016
ESOL 1 11 students = .7 FTE
ESOL 2 11 students = .5 FTE
ESOL 3 15 students = .3 FTE
ESOL 4 15 students = .3 FTE
ESOL 5 16 students = .3 FTE

29. Testimony on behalf of the Whitman Cluster suggests that MCPS introduce more language instruction in elementary schools since research shows that language acquisition is easier at early ages. Are there plans to expand foreign language instruction offerings in elementary and middle schools?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE:  N/A

ANSWER:

Due to budgetary constraints, expansion of foreign language offerings at the elementary school level has not been possible. The expansion of foreign languages offerings at the elementary school level would require the following:

  • Budgeting additional funds for staffing and for the development of a K–5 foreign language curriculum
  • Developing a clear K–12 articulation (with possible multiple entry points) as well as a corresponding scope and sequence
  • Deciding which language(s) to offer at which elementary schools
  • Identifying and hiring highly qualified foreign language teachers

Allocating resources to support implementation of foreign language at the elementary level would require a significant investment by the district. MCPS does offer a robust foreign language program at the middle school level. The following languages are offered throughout the county at the middle school level: Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Spanish for Spanish Speakers. Middle and high school course offerings are based on student interest and sustainability of the program. World Languages course offerings at the middle school level have increased in recent years. This year alone, there are two new French programs (Col. E. Brooke Lee and Sligo middle schools), two new Italian programs (William H. Farquhar and A. Mario Loiederman middle schools), two new Spanish for Spanish Speakers programs (John T. Baker and Forest Oak middle schools), and one new Japanese program at Newport Mill Middle School.


30. Provide the number of schools/classrooms without Promethean Boards?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE:  N/A

ANSWER:

Funding for a comprehensive effort to add Promethean interactive whiteboards in elementary schools was not available until the 2012–2013 school year. As a result, the implementation of Promethean interactive technologies at the elementary level, to that point, had been the result of grant and Parent Teacher Association funding initiated by individual schools, or through building modernization and addition projects. During the 2012–2013 school year, Promethean interactive whiteboards were installed in over 2,000 elementary classrooms. Together with previous elementary installations, this represents coverage of nearly 100 percent of the core elementary instructional spaces. Due to enrollment growth and instructional programming changes, classrooms not previously used for core instructional spaces may now be used for this purpose, and exacerbate the coverage in a given school.

MCPS expanded the implementation of the Promethean interactive whiteboards and related instructional technologies to 65 percent of all secondary classrooms during the 2008–2009 school year. Through school modernization projects and grant funding, there are currently Promethean interactive whiteboards in over 75 percent of all core secondary instructional spaces. Moreover, we continue to explore funding options to expand the availability of interactive classroom surfaces and displays to provide even greater access to these technologies across all appropriate instructional spaces.

Questions 31-40

31. Has consideration been given to changing the staffing allocations from formula-based to a school needs basis?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: Chapter 1-1

Answer:

Each position allocated to schools has a formula or criteria associated with the allocation. Some formulas are enrollment-based while others are program or needs-based. Each year, MCPS reviews the formulas to determine if adjustments are needed. Over time, MCPS has changed numerous formulas for staffing positions from enrollment-based to needs or program based. These positions include focus teachers, assistant school administrators, academic intervention teachers, alternative teachers, and focus paraeducators. There are other positions allocated based on programs. These programs include signature programs, immersion programs, magnet programs, ESOL programs, and special education programs.


32. Has a work order been submitted for the Internet issues at Strathmore Elementary School? If so, what is the status?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE:  N/A

ANSWER:

The Telecommunications Team in the Office of the Chief Technology Officer has been working with Comcast and Strathmore Elementary School to isolate the issue with the network connection. The issue may be related to an unexpected bandwidth limitation, either caused by Comcast or by the existing telecommunication electronics. Comcast is investigating the bandwidth performance of the connection and scheduled an onsite technician visit on Wednesday, January 14, 2015. Based on their findings, the connectivity or electronics will be adjusted to improve the school's overall network connectivity performance.


33. Has changing some psychologist positions from 12- to 10-month impeded our ability to hire psychologists?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 5-53

ANSWER:

School psychology is a critical shortage area in Maryland. Nationally approved school psychology graduate training programs in Maryland do not produce enough graduates to fill the number of school psychologist vacancies in the state, and as a result, Maryland must import school psychologists. School psychologist candidates often have choices between several job offers among nearby school systems and across the country. Surrounding jurisdictions offer school psychologists open contracts as early as January for the following school year, impacting the potential pool for vacant psychologist positions. In December 2014, the Psychologists' Work Schedule Work Group recommended that the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Office of Human Resources and Development identify the psychologist position as eligible for open contracts because of the shortage of qualified school psychologists. Open contracts for psychologists will greatly improve MCPS' opportunities to hire qualified candidates.

An analysis of 2012-2013 data reported by the Maryland State Department of Education shows that starting salaries and contract lengths for school psychologists vary widely. While MCPS offers 10- and 12-month positions, some districts budget for 10- and 11-month positions; others budget for 11- and 12-month positions. Starting salaries of districts that offer 10- and 12-month school psychologist positions are mixed; some are higher and others are lower than the starting salary offered by MCPS.

The shift from 12-month psychologist positions to 10-month and 20 summer days positions has presented some challenges to filling vacant positions. However, eight of the 12 vacant school psychologist positions were filled by the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. Two of the four remaining vacant positions were filled in October 2014. The third vacant position was filled in December 2014, while the fourth and final vacancy was filled in early January 2015.


34. What is the status of the evaluation of special, choice, and signature programs? Will the Middle Years Programmes be included in the evaluation?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE:  N/A

ANSWER:

Approval to select the contractor to prepare the study is scheduled for the January 13, 2015, Board meeting. The study will explore the complex ways in which the operation of choice and other special programs may have implications for local signature programs, such as the Middle Years Programme, which have been developed at a number of schools to integrate a specific focus or distinguishing theme into some portion of the curriculum.


35. Do staffing allocations take into account the number of levels of differentiation in the classroom for math and reading?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: N/A

ANSWER:

Staffing allocations are based on enrollment projections and are adjusted based on actual enrollment. Class sizes in mathematics and English tend to be lower than average, due to school priorities in scheduling. Classroom instruction involves regularly assessing the needs of students and providing the appropriate instruction. Staff expects that changes in instruction, based on ongoing assessments, occur on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the needs of the students. In the case of students who receive special education and English Speakers of Other Languages support, additional teacher and/or paraeducator staffing allocations are provided for smaller group instruction.


36. How do we make sure that parents who attend parent/teacher conferences get the appropriate level of interpreting services? Is school staff aware of the process required to obtain services?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE:  11-18

ANSWER:

Schools receive, via memorandum, the guidelines and processes for requesting interpretation services from the Language Assistance Services Unit (LASU). LASU maintains a bank of 306 interpreters in 51 languages, with 104 interpreters available in Spanish, our most commonly spoken language.

The LASU has created and rolled out to schools a Language Assistance Request Information System (LARIS), an online system that enables schools to request, manage, and track requests for interpreters. All 205 schools (including special schools/centers) and 24 offices (634 staff members) have been trained on LARIS.

During peak times, it is challenging to accommodate the many interpretation requests from schools. Therefore, the LASU adjusts its schedule and modifies the time allocated to each school. For example, the LASU receives a very high volume of requests for interpreters to provide translation services for parent-teacher conferences. To ensure that interpreters are available to support all schools, LASU provides a maximum of four hours of support per language requested by a school during this peak period. If an interpreter is not available at a specific time on the conference day, schools are encouraged to use the Language Line or the Montgomery County Government Volunteer Language Bank. Contact information for these additional resources is provided to the school requestor so that interpretation services can be secured.

Schools are encouraged to submit their request in a timely manner. However, when parents need interpretation support for unscheduled meetings, schools may utilize the Language Line or a staff member in the building.


37. There is concern that the number of non-resident students attending MCPS is growing. How is residency verification impacting the workload of PPWs, and what priority does it have in terms of their duties and responsibilities?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 5-53

ANSWER:

At the request of principals and central services administrators, pupil personnel workers (PPWs) regularly investigate families and their living arrangements when residency is in question. The investigations result in either a confirmation of residency, or a recommendation to the administrator that the students be withdrawn from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). PPWs are aware of the importance of this issue and make residency verification a high priority when a request is made. Due to the increase in the number of requests to verify international student residency, PPWs are called upon more frequently during peak enrollment times of summer and mid-winter months. The additional 6.0 PPW positions added in FY 2015, and the 3.0 PPW positions proposed for FY 2016, will help to ensure that all students enrolled in MCPS are Montgomery County residents, and will provide additional support to schools in meeting the needs of students.


38. Compare MCPS elementary counselor ratios with other school systems of the same size.

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 5-53

ANSWER:

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) does not currently have an established counselor-to-student ratio for elementary school. All MCPS elementary schools have a school counselor position allocation. On average, the MCPS elementary school staffing ratio is one counselor for 536 students. Most MCPS elementary schools have a 1.0 Full-time Equivalent (FTE) counselor position. Elementary schools with high enrollment may have more; one elementary school has 2.0 FTE counselor positions and two other elementary schools with high enrollment have 1.5 FTE counselor positions. Elementary schools with low enrollment may have less than a 1.0 FTE counselor positions, e.g., one elementary school has a 0.8 FTE counselor position, and four elementary schools with low enrollment have 0.5 FTE counselor positions.

In FY 2015, an additional 5.5 FTE counselor positions were allocated to 11 Title I schools with enrollments of 500 or more students and the highest percentages of students receiving Free and Reduced-price Meals System services. Each of these Title I schools was given an additional 0.5 FTE counselor position.

In 2013, the Virginia General Assembly approved a staff ratio of one full-time elementary school counselor to 500 students. Fairfax County Public Schools follows the approved elementary counselor student ratio (1:500). Prince George's County Public Schools has a staff ratio of one elementary counselor to 589 students. The Charlotte-Mecklenberg school district, which is approximately the same size as MCPS, has a staff ratio of one counselor to 514 students. The Philadelphia Public Schools allocates a 0.5 FTE counselor position to each elementary school that has 524 or fewer students, and a 1.0 FTE counselor position to elementary schools that have 525 to 949 students.


39. What is the flexibility in the staffing allocations for Title I and Focus schools? How are the allocations differentiated?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 1-1

ANSWER:

While some staffing is based on enrollment, other staffing is needs-based or program-based. Needs-based staffing is allocated so that schools with greater needs receive more staffing. Program staffing is based on a school having a program housed at that location. This includes immersion programs, highly-gifted centers, signature programs, Pre-Kindergarten programs, special education programs, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs. Our most highly impacted elementary schools are Title I schools. Focus schools are schools impacted by poverty, but not to the degree that Title I schools are impacted. Staffing allocations differentiate for needs in Focus and Title I school as follows:

  • Kindergarten teacher positions are staffed at a ratio of 18:1 versus 26:1 in other schools.
  • Grades 1 and 2 classroom teacher positions are staffed at a ratio of 18:1 versus 27:1 in other schools.
  • Focus teacher positions are allocated using a differentiated formula (per pupil allocation for Title I schools and sliding scale for focus schools), so that schools with greater needs are allocated more staffing. The position may be used differently depending on the school needs. Focus teachers provide support beyond the classroom teacher, provide small group instruction, implement interventions, and serve as a coach to other teachers in the school. For Title I schools, the focus teacher positions are funded through the Title I, Part A grant, while for focus schools, MCPS funds the positions locally.
  • Focus paraeducator positions are allocated using a differentiated formula (per pupil allocation for Title I schools and sliding scale for Focus schools), so that schools with greater needs have more staffing. The positions may be used differently depending on school needs. The paraeducators work in classrooms with teachers to provide support to students with needs, provide interventions, and work with small groups of students. For Title I schools, the paraeducator positions are funded through the Title I, Part A grant, while for focus schools, MCPS funds the positions locally. Schools also have the flexibility to trade Focus paraeducator positions for Focus teacher positions, depending on the school needs. Also, all Focus schools have an assistant principal no matter how small the school.
  • Academic intervention teacher positions are allocated to provide intensive support to students who need it. Schools are allocated positions based on impact and enrollment, so those schools with more impacted students are allocated more staffing. By having the flexibility to assign resources, schools identify a plan to use the positions to support student needs.
  • ESOL teacher positions are allocated to schools based on ESOL student enrollment. Schools with large ESOL enrollment are allocated more staffing than those with smaller enrollment. The MCPS schools that are more highly impacted often have higher ESOL enrollments than other schools, so these schools will have more ESOL staffing than other less impacted schools.

Questions 41-50

41. What is the cost of adding a 9th and 10th Grade IB/MYP at Seneca Valley High School?

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference: Chapter 1–11

Answer:

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a Grade 6 through 10 framework of academic challenge that encourages students to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world, and become critical and reflective thinkers. Costs vary from year-to-year based on the number of staff members requiring professional development and the IB fees charged.

When implementation begins, the cost for professional development, regardless of school size, is based on sending eight teachers to required IB training (one each in the eight IB MYP core subject areas—mathematics, language and literature, science, individuals and societies, design, language acquisition, physical education, and arts). In addition, the principal, an assistant principal, and the media specialist attend the training.

Adding the MYP at Seneca Valley High School for FY 2016 would cost $78,436. This includes $37,782 for substitutes; professional part-time salaries; travel for professional learning; and dues, registration, and fees. The additional 0.6 teacher position (MYP coordinator) would cost $40,654, including employee benefits. Roberto W. Clemente and Martin Luther King middle schools, direct feeder schools to Seneca Valley High School, are currently IB MYP candidate schools and will apply for MYP authorization in the fall of 2016. Seneca Valley High School currently is only an IB Diploma school for Grades 11–12.

IB has an application process that typically takes two years to complete. To demonstrate readiness for the program, schools are required to show commitment to the IB philosophy, professional development, curriculum and assessment, and financial support from the school district administration and school board.


42. Provide the cost to restore staff development teachers, reading specialists, media specialists, and counselors to full-time in elementary schools.

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE:  1-3

ANSWER:

The FY 2016 Superintendent's Recommended Operating budget includes a multi-year enhancement that restores 8.0 FTE positions and $598,601 as a result of previous year's budget reductions to small and midsize elementary schools. These positions included staff development teachers, reading specialists, media specialists, and counselors. Small and midsize non-focus schools cut either a .5 or 1.0, and focus schools a .5 teacher position. Elementary schools determined which of the four positions to reduce based on their individual needs. Prior to these reductions, all elementary schools had a full-time allocation for each of these positions.

A total of 19 positions were restored in the FY 2014 and FY 2015 Operating Budgets. Currently, there are 32 .5 positions in elementary schools. To complete this multi-year enhancement in FY 2016 and restore all positions to a 1.0 FTE would require an additional 8.0 positions and $598,601 over and above what is currently included in the FY 2016 budget.


43. Provide information on the training that is provided for staff to help students who have experienced trauma from fleeing from violence in their countries of origin. What would it cost to expand the training to all staff?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE:  5-53

ANSWER:

Given the complexity of the issues affecting children fleeing violence from their home countries, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is working jointly with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and several nonprofit partners to meet the needs of children who have experienced severe trauma and violence.

Some MCPS staff with the most immediate needs for supplemental professional development have attended workshops to increase their awareness of the conditions that prompted unaccompanied youth to emigrate, the experiences that these youth encountered en route to the United States, and the challenges they may experience in reuniting with family members and returning to school after significant interruptions to their education. These workshops and presentations were delivered through collaborative relationships with community partners including Montgomery County government and nonprofit organizations, and at no cost to MCPS. Each presentation or workshop offered valuable information and insights into how to best support our international students who have experienced trauma. Much of the professional development is linked to El Joven Noble (The Noble Young Man) Curriculum, an evidence-based model used by DHHS. Some examples of these workshops and staff members that attended them include:

  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) resource teachers, school-based ESOL counselors, and ESOL transition counselors attended a workshop by Mr. Luis Cardona, youth violence coordinator (DHHS), that introduced components of El Joven Noble and the Healing Circles techniques to MCPS staff members supporting students who are experiencing trauma in July 2014.
  • ESOL parent community coordinators and counselors attended a workshop provided by DHHS on August 22, 2014.
  • School counselors participated in a workshop session at the November 5, 2014, All Counselors Meeting offered by DHHS staff members.
  • A Forum on Central American International Student Experiences was held on Wednesday, November 19, 2014, in collaboration with Montgomery County Government and Mr. Roberto Escobar, director of education promotion, National Youth Institute of El Salvador, and MCPS students who recently immigrated from Central America. The forum was presented to about 150 MCPS staff members. Its focus was on enhancing understanding of the conditions that cause families from Central America to seek safety in the United States.
  • ESOL counselors attended the Families Reunite meeting on January 20, 2015, to learn more about supporting family reunification issues. This meeting was offered by Fairfax County Public Schools through Linkages to Learning.
  • ESOL staff members have invited Mr. Cardona to meet with secondary Multidisciplinary Educational Training and Support (METS) teachers to highlight characteristics and effective strategies to support students (scheduled for about 45 secondary METS teachers in April 2015).

There is additional information that is needed before an estimate of the cost of providing additional targeted professional development for a defined set of MCPS staff members can be developed. This information is related to the level of professional development required by MCPS staff members who fill various roles in supporting international students fleeing violence. We are fortunate that several staff members who have the most direct contact with these students are experienced in this work or participated in the initial professional development linked to trauma-informed support. The focus can now include cultural competence linked to trauma-informed supports.

Staff members from the Office of Special Education and Student Services have met with Mr. Cardona, DHHS, and Mr. Jerry Tello, director, National Latino Fatherhood and Family Institute, to discuss the El Joven Noble curriculum. The curriculum has been implemented in some school districts in the country. It may be that implementation of this curriculum may be useful to a wider group of MCPS staff members. There would be costs to purchase and implement the curriculum and costs to prepare MCPS staff members to serve as trainers.

It is important to note, however, that the services that unaccompanied youth may require need not be delivered solely by MCPS. A range of appropriate services for unaccompanied minors is available through METS counselors, our nonprofit partners, and local government. Students who attend schools with Linkages to Learning and Wellness Center programs have onsite access to mental health supports or receive assistance with accessing services. Examples of some the services that already are provided to unaccompanied youth include the following:

  • DHHS contractors are facilitating transformational healing groups working with new arrivals.
  • Linkages to Learning continues to provide therapeutic support to children and their families; 136 children have been seen since July 2014.
  • The Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program is treating children who have experienced sexual victimization during their journey.
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health program staff continues to receive school referrals for students who require mental health supports.
  • The Crisis Center continues to serve children who have experienced trauma.

The International Student Services and Supports Work Group was formed and charged with providing further guidance on resources and ways of meeting the academic, social/emotional, and mental health needs of students who have experienced trauma, including costs associated with training. The group will make recommendations in the next few months.


44. What is the cost of restoring the speech-language pathologist position to the Bilingual Assessment Team?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: 5-53

ANSWER:

There has been no reduction in the number of speech-language pathologist positions on the Bilingual Assessment Team; the number continues to be 2.0 FTEs. The cost of a full-time, 10-month, bilingual speech-language pathologist is $81,948 (Salary: $62,413; Benefits: $19,535).


45. What are the staffing ratios for the high school and middle school METS programs? What would be the cost to lower the high school ratio so it is the same as the middle school ratio?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: 4-55

ANSWER:

The Multidisciplinary Education, Training, and Support (METS) program provides additional support to English language learners who have had limited or significant schooling gaps due to interrupted or disrupted formal education.

The middle school METS program has 10 classes in nine middle schools, with one middle school having two METS classes. The staffing formulas for middle school METS are shown in the table below.

Middle School METS Staffing Allocations
METS Student Enrollment per Class Number of METS Teachers per Class Number of METS paraeducators per Class Total number of METS teachers Total number of METS paraeducators
15 1 .75 10.0 7.5

The high school METS program is offered in 12 high school ESOL centers. The staffing formulas for high school METS are shown in the table below. This model requires 16.0 METS teacher positions and 8.5 paraeducator positions for FY 2016.

High School METS Staffing Allocations
METS Student Enrollment METS Teacher FTE METS Paraeducators
52+ 2.4 0.5
45–51 2.0 0.5
38–44 1.6 0.5
32–38 1.2 0.5
25–31 1.0 0.5
18–24 0.8 0.5
11–17 0.6 0.5
4–10 0.4 0.5
0–3 0.0 0.5

To replicate the middle school METS staffing model of 15 students per class in high school, an additional 10.6 ESOL teacher positions and 11.45 paraeducator positions for $1,186,266 would be required.


46. Will language diversity be part of the Workforce Diversity Initiative?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 10-10

ANSWER:

Employees who speak multiple languages enhance our workforce, and the Workforce Diversity Initiative will allow us to continue to build a pool of diverse language candidates particularly since we have so many students who speak languages other than English.

Currently, applicants who apply for positions in MCPS have the option of including languages spoken fluently when completing their online profile. There are certain teacher positions where an employee needs to be fluent in a particular language. Applicants who apply for positions in our immersion programs are tested in terms of their fluency and ability to teach in immersion programs. Applicants who apply to teach World Languages demonstrate their language abilities through certification in a particular language.


47. Does MCPS conduct summer orientation sessions for non-English speaking families to help them navigate the school system? What would be the cost of expanding these programs?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE:  N/A

ANSWER:

Currently, there is no face-to-face summer orientation during the enrollment process for non-English speaking families. The face-to-face orientation for parents and students was eliminated in 2008, when the Division of ESOL/Bilingual Services, Division of Counseling, Residency and International Admissions, and the Office of Communications collaborated on the development of a multilingual informational DVD on how to navigate the school system. International parents enrolling in MCPS may view this information during the enrollment process. Currently, there is a work group examining the enrollment process for international and non-English speaking students and their families with the goal of identifying process improvements. The group is reviewing options, including reinstating face-to-face orientation.


48. Provide data to show how many schools have administrative support staff that speak Spanish fluently.

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE:  N/A

ANSWER:

The Office of Human Resources and Development does not currently track data for all employees in schools who provide administrative support that speak Spanish fluently. However, through the SEIU negotiated agreement, there is a program where unit members may receive a pay differential for interpreting. In order to be eligible, the unit member must pass an oral language examination to receive a stipend for interpreting in their school setting. Currently there are 56 staff members who have passed this exam. When someone applies for an administrative support position on MCPS Careers, the applicant can indicate if they speak more than one language. When the hiring manager reviews their profile, the languages spoken are part of the information.

We are currently working to identify a way to integrate the applicant's language spoken fluently reported in the Applicant Tracking System into the Lawson HRIS system.


49. Provide information on the implementation of the Study Circles program. How much would it cost to expand the number of Study Circles in schools?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: 7-4

ANSWER:

The mission of the Study Circles Program is to identify, examine, and eliminate institutional barriers to African American and Latino student achievement in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). The program provides a structure for diverse stakeholders to:

  • Engage in honest and productive dialogue around race and equity
  • Hear a broad range of experiences and perspectives
  • Identify and examine institutional barriers (beliefs, practices, and policies)
  • Collaboratively work to eliminate the barriers.

The Study Circles program offers a variety of formats to meet the specific needs of schools and offices. This past year, the program has focused mostly on school and office leadership teams. Seventeen leadership teams are engaged in a year-long process that includes two full-day retreats, monthly coaching sessions, and sessions during summer Leadership Week. Additionally, Study Circles program staff have organized Student/Teacher Circles to hear student voices; Spanish Language Circles that bring together Spanish speaking parents and English speaking staff; Principal Advisory Committees to help students, parents, staff, and administrators work together to address institutional barriers; and department-level Study Circles with central office personnel. While the specific activities change with each format, all Study Circles follow the same three steps:

  • Develop trust and begin to understand each other's experience.
  • Explore different racial experiences and viewpoints.
  • Collaborate on action to address beliefs, practices, and policies.

Each Study Circle has two facilitators and an average of 20 participants. Study Circles also may utilize substitutes, childcare providers, and interpretation services.

The amount budgeted for the FY 2016 Study Circles Program is $464,405. This amount covers three fulltime staff, stipends, substitute teachers, and contractual expenses that enable MCPS to conduct 22 Study Circles per year for approximately 500 participants. This includes thirteen Instructional Leadership Team Study Circles, four Parent/Staff Study Circles, and five Student/Staff Study Circles.

The cost of expanding Study Circles will vary according to the format and number of participants. Were MCPS to offer ten additional Instructional Leadership Team Study Circles, the cost would be approximately $130,985 for facilitators, substitute teachers, administrative support, and a 1.0 FTE equity specialist to lead and coach instructional leadership teams. Ten additional Parent/Staff Study Circles would cost $99,887 for facilitators, substitutes, childcare, interpretation services, and a 1.0 FTE parent community coordinator to recruit families to participate, handle logistics and communication, and support action steps. The additional FTEs would be required because the staff that currently manages the Study Circles program has the capacity to conduct a maximum of 22 circles of varying formats per year.


50. Summarize the recommendations in the Governor's Task Force Report on Arts Education and provide information on how MCPS compares to other districts.

Expand/Collapse Answer


Questions 51-60

51. Coming Soon

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference:

Answer:


52. How do we allocate funds to purchase music, physical education, science/lab, and art supplies and materials?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Various

ANSWER:

Instructional materials are purchased centrally when new curriculum is implemented or when new textbooks are selected. For example, in FY 2013, when the new music and art curriculum was implemented in elementary schools, MCPS spent a total of $963,000 ($759,000 for music and $204,000 for art) for textbooks and software for those content areas. Science kit materials for elementary schools also are purchased centrally. Science kit purchases are approximately $525,000 per year. In addition, schools are allocated textbooks, media center materials, and instructional materials funds on a per pupil basis. Schools identify their needs and select textbooks and materials to be purchased from the approved materials and textbooks lists. Program supervisors in content areas approve recommended textbooks and create guidelines for materials in art, music, physical education, and science. Schools use the guidelines to identify how their funds will be allocated across content areas and classrooms. In addition, equipment replacement purchases and repairs for musical instruments, science equipment, physical education equipment, and art equipment are handled centrally each year based on school needs and identifying where replacements are required.


53. How is the budget structured to address the issue of the achievement gap and provide information on the accountability measures we have in place?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: N/A

ANSWER:

The MCPS budget is structured to reflect our system priorities. Closing the achievement gap is central to our strategic framework and is reflected in how we budget our positions and other resources. The core of the budget is the allocations to schools that most directly support efforts to close the achievement gap. We know from data collected that schools with the greatest needs, based on Free and Reduced-price Meals System (FARMS) rates, are also schools with higher percentages of African American and Hispanic students. Providing additional resources tor these schools is key to closing the achievement gap which is why we allocate additional funds to these schools.

Funding of schools is differentiated based on the needs of students so that schools with greater needs are allocated more staffing and other resources. MCPS has a long-standing commitment to fund schools according to the needs of the students in each school. While all schools are allocated “base or core staffing,” which is determined by a variety of enrollment and program factors, staff and other resources are allocated based on need.

These allocations are provided to support efforts and work to close the achievement gap in MCPS. They include:

  • Focus teacher positions—allocated to schools with higher FARMS eligible students to reduce class size in English and mathematics classes. The allocation formula is based on FARMS and enrollment.
  • Academic intervention teacher positions—allocated to schools with higher FARMS eligible students to lower class size and address the achievement gap. The allocation formula is based on FARMS and enrollment.
  • Alternative programs teacher positions—schools with higher FARMS eligible students, mobility, retention, and suspension rates receive greater allocations.
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher and paraeducator positions—allocated to schools to support instruction of ESOL students.

In addition to staffing, other resources are allocated to schools based on needs. For example:

  • High School Intervention to Graduation program funds are allocated to provide additional support and programming for students who have not been successful in core content areas.
  • Minority Achievement program funds ($100,000 budgeted in FY 2014 and $150,000 budgeted in FY 2015) are used to implement programs that support African American and Latino students, and to address the achievement gap between these students their White and Asian peers.
  • Mini-grants are provided to schools to support for drama, newspaper and yearbook.
  • The Career Lattice provides educators with opportunities to make a difference in student achievement beyond their classroom. Participants in the Career Lattice receive supplemental pay and assume greater levels of responsibility for improving student learning, both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Achieving College Excellence and Success (ACES) is a collaborative program among Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, and the Universities at Shady Grove. ACES focuses on identifying and supporting students who are underrepresented in higher education and those who are the first in their family to attend college.
  • Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a college readiness system designed to increase schoolwide learning and performance by accelerating student learning through research based methods of effective instruction

Last year when the superintendent presented his recommended FY 2015 Recommended Operating Budget to the Board, he noted that the MCPS provides an average of $1.9 million more in resources to Focus elementary schools. Also, attached is a chart sent to Councilmember Branson in April 2014, that provides details on how the budget is differentiated to support high schools with greater needs. Furthermore, the FY 2016 Program Budget has been organized to show how budgeted resources are used support the students who require additional support to help close the achievement gap.

The accountability measures that are necessary to ensure that the achievement gap is closing are part of a multidimensional accountability system that starts with the Strategic Planning Framework’s five milestones and the annual targets established. At the school level, the School Support and Improvement Framework (SSIF) serves as the primary tool which informs many stakeholders on student progress. In addition, work has begun on developing a standard approach for accessing the impact of resource allocations and what the return is on these investments. By comparing groupings of schools based on their level of budgetary support, and aggregating student achievement around agreed upon metrics, we can identify where significant areas of improvement are occurring. This process will further inform whether resource allocation decisions align with the educational needs of students.

Council Data for High Schools


54. Provide any previous studies or data considered by the Board on year-round school.

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: N/A

ANSWER:

In February 2004, the Year Round School Schedule Project Team was formed and charged with considering alternative school year schedule options for some schools. The essential work of the team was to identify an instructional model that would support and lead to improved teaching and learning and enhanced outcomes for students. Specifically, the work of the project team included:

  • A review of current research
  • Benchmarking with school districts similar to MCPS that had implemented alternative instructional models
  • Consideration of the capacity of an alternative school-year schedule to provide more instructional time for students and/or to more effectively utilize instructional time
  • A review of how a modified calendar would impact eligibility criteria for Title I schools
  • An analysis of the impact of a year-round school schedule on various operations such as transportation, building usage, and staffing
  • The development of an implementation plan to include a timeline, budget, communications plan, and evaluation component
  • Identification of critical issues
  • Providing a summary recommendation

Based on a review of research, the team concluded that there was substantial evidence to warrant a recommendation for a gradual implementation of a modified school calendar in some elementary schools with the greatest needs. On March 24, 2005, executive leadership recommended that the planning process begin for the implementation of a modified calendar in some MCPS schools for the 2007-2008 school year.

In early October, 2006, the team considered four calendar options: six weeks with six-hour Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO); an intersession model; adding 25 minutes per day; and extending the school year by 10 days. In November, 2006, the work of the committee was put on hold due to budgetary issues.


55. For positions such as those listed in Appendix C on page 5 have we considered using school need as a factor rather than enrollment?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: C-5

ANSWER:

Staffing allocation information for positions such as secretaries, paraeducators, media assistants, financial specialists, registrars, and career information coordinators is found in the FY 2016 Superintendent’s Recommended Operating Budget on Page 5 of Appendix C. The current staffing formulas allocate these specific positions based on either 1.0 per school or by enrollment.

The workload of these positions is impacted by a variety of factors. For example, the number of students applying to college and the number of parents who call to ask questions may impact the workload. In reviewing each position, we explore and gather input on the types of factors that impact the workload and the type of work performed. An important factor is that those employed in the positions have their own perspective of the complexity and quantity of the work. Those employees in small schools view their needs in relationship to that small school setting, while those in large schools view their needs based on a large school perspective. Another factor that is taken into consideration when determining how to allocate positions is how the allocated resources meet, or in some cases do not meet the needs of schools, keeping in mind that there is most always a desire for more, and that some constituents are more active than others. Staff tries to balance individual interests with a larger system view. While the specific formulas found on Page 5 of Appendix C do not factor in need versus enrollment, there are other formulas that are adjusted to address need. For example, formulas for classroom teachers, alternative program teachers, assistant school administrators, focus teachers, academic intervention teachers, focus paraeducators, ESOL paraeducators, and special education paraeducator positions all take need into account.


56. Provide data on how many eligible prekindergarten students are not being served by MCPS programs.

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: 4-49

ANSWER:

The Division of Early Childhood Programs and Services has a comprehensive program that uses media, community forums and events, and collaboration with a wide range of agencies to ensure that eligible children enroll in our prekindergarten and Head Start programs. The division screens families that apply for enrollment in the prekindergarten and Head Start programs based on their children’s age and family income eligibility based on Free and Reduced Price Meals (FARMs) criteria. All age and income eligible children whose parents request a prekindergarten experience for their child are placed. However, participation in prekindergarten programs for 4-year-old children is not mandatory and currently, there is no data that is readily available to capture how many prekindergarten students are not being served by MCPS.

Eligible children may not enroll in prekindergarten and Head Start classes for a variety of reasons. Some children are enrolled in private child care programs using Women, Infants and Children child care subsidy vouchers provided by the state. Other children are in home child care settings or in informal child care arrangements based on their families’ child care needs.


57. What is our approach to literacy in our secondary schools?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE

ANSWER:

Since the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in 2010, MCPS has approached literacy at the secondary level as a responsibility of all subject areas. Professional learning and curriculum development has emphasized literacy as the entryway to the deeper learning required in each content area. After a review of the secondary literacy program in 2013-2014, the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs (OCIP), in collaboration with schools and all other central services offices, has been pursuing multiple approaches to improving literacy outcomes for all students.

A Definition of Literacy for All Content Areas – The Core Literacy Practices

Literacy is critical and creative thinking through reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing. Drawing from the rich research base of the CCSS and the Next Generation Science Standards, MCPS created a simple 10 point expectation for literacy instruction in all content areas called the MCPS Core Literacy Practices. The Core Literacy Practices have also been the central organizing feature of the Literacy Observation Tool all schools can use in all content areas to monitor literacy instruction. To meet this shared definition of literacy and ensure that all teachers participate in literacy instruction, it is important that these practices be authentic to the content. The Core Literacy Practices and Literacy Observation Tool create the common expectations but also have sufficient flexibility to be authentic in any classroom.

Curricular Changes

Since literacy is the process by which students learn everything and the way through which they communicate that learning, the approach to literacy needs to align with the advances in content and technology. All of the former reading classes are being revised in a multi-year roll out plan. Next year, starting with Reading 6, sixth grade students will enroll in Digital Literacy 1, a problem based approach, which extends on the inquiry projects students have experienced in Curriculum 2.0. Students will learn to define a real-world problem, research it through various digital sources, evaluate the sources for credibility, and create a solution to that problem based on the conclusions they drew on that research. These inquiries will not only develop their literacy skills, they will also develop their use of technology, collaboration, and engagement with learning.

A New Approach to Interventions

When a student does not reach the required level of literacy development, it impacts their ability to learn the content in all of the classes. Matching appropriate interventions to students’ needs can help accelerate them back to their grade level peers, and back into the core and elective courses free to explore broad new concepts. There are also reading intervention programs that have been found to be effective. Read 180, that MCPS currently uses and plans to expand to the Next Generation Read 180, is one of the few interventions validated through independent research. More importantly, these interventions must be a comprehensive school-based effort, not an off-the-shelf solution. Current MCPS efforts are focused on using data to match the appropriate approach to each student’s developmental reading need.

Professional Learning

Professional learning across MCPS has focused on the Core Literacy Practices, including their use with the new technology initiatives. Professional learning planned for this summer is focusing on the new courses and the continued focus on literacy in all content areas. Professional learning and key instructional leadership positions are needed to develop all teachers’ literacy instruction skills.

There are many other elements to literacy in MCPS, including use of assessments and technology, changing curriculum in non-literacy courses, developing consistency across classrooms and schools, and organizational structure, and community outreach. The MCPS approach to secondary literacy will be discussed in greater detail at a presentation to the Board of Education in May.


58. How many students are found to be non-residents on an annual basis?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE:  1-3

ANSWER:

Currently, data on the number of students found to be nonresidents does not exist in a way that can be this utilized to answer this question. While Pupil Personnel Workers (PPWs) conduct residency checks when requested by principals at their assigned schools, and relay their findings to the principal, they usually do not receive notification when a student has been officially withdrawn. Individual schools may track their own student withdrawal information. The Department of Student Services is in the process of developing an automated system to track, collect, and report this data on a monthly basis.


59. What would be the savings if class size was increased by one student except for Title I and Focus schools and high needs secondary schools?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE:  1-3

ANSWER:

If class size guidelines were increased by one student for all elementary schools, except for Title I and Focus schools, the savings would be approximately $2,981,308 (including employee benefits) as of result of eliminating 44 classroom teacher positions. Secondary school by school staffing calculations have not been completed to determine what the savings would be if class size were increased by one student except for high needs schools. However, based on preliminary enrollment numbers and applying a calculation for increasing the average class size by one, the savings would be approximately $1,538,084 (including employee benefits) as a result of eliminating 22.7 classroom teacher positions for middle schools, and approximately $1,992,056 (including employee benefits) as a result of eliminating 29.4 classroom teacher positions for high schools.


60. Provide additional information on the data in the response to Question 18 that shows why only 54 percent of the students were accepted to four-year colleges/universities.

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: 1-11

ANSWER:

The college acceptance data presented in the response to Question 18 reflects self-reporting by seniors before graduation from high school, as collected in an anonymous survey conducted by AVID. According to the survey, 50 percent of AVID students responding at Northwood and Rockville high schools indicated plans to attend a two-year college.

Other factors also impact the college acceptance data. Nearly 70 percent of AVID students at the two high schools qualify for Free and Reduced-Price Meals Services. School staff members report that students whose families have limited financial resources typically plan to live at home while attending college, and because of college application fees they often apply to only one four-year college or university. These students, therefore, typically apply to the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP), with the plan to attend Montgomery College if they are not accepted at UMCP.


Questions 61-66

61. Provide an update for the budget for the Children’s Trust.

Expand/Collapse Answer

Budget Page Reference:

Answer:

The Superintendent has proposed that the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) contribute $250,000 to establish the Children’s Opportunity Fund, a countywide, interagency and cross-system collaboration that will leverage public/private partnerships and funding sources to help close the academic achievement gap in MCPS by impacting the social determinants that affect outcomes for these children and their families. These funds would be matched by the County Executive in his FY 2016 recommended budget, bringing the total proposed agency budget for the Children’s Opportunity Fund to $500,000. This funding also will be leveraged to attract private funding, thereby increasing the total funding significantly above MCPS’ contribution. This initial funding is intended to seed this initiative and begin a multiyear strategy.

A structure external to both MCPS and the county government will be created to govern and operationalize this work. This entity will provide broad visioning around systems and improving outcomes, policy guidance, and funding prioritization. Members will include:

  • Montgomery County Executive
  • Montgomery County Councilmembers
  • Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools
  • Board of Education Members
  • Community Stakeholder
  • Business Community Representative

Operations Entity – Implementation of guidance provided by the Governance Group

The Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships (OCEP) has recommended that the operational entity of the Children’s Opportunity Fund be comprised of public/private representatives to conduct research, make policy recommendations, and implement the governing body’s strategic vision. This group would undertake an initial six months of planning, with demonstration projects to be implemented in the second half of the first year. The use of funds would be determined by the governing group, but early childhood, unaccompanied minors, middle schools initiatives, and summer educational supports are likely to be among the areas given primary consideration.

Fiscal Entity – Responsible for grant making and leveraging funds for public-private partnerships

OCEP has recommended that the fiscal entity be a stand-alone fiscal agent that would be responsible for grant making and funding. This group will manage and distribute funds to identified organizations and will help raise funds by leveraging public/private funds. This entity is to receive no more than 1.5 percent in overhead fees from the fund. The amount of revenue from private investments is anticipated; actual private investment may be higher or lower. Below is a preliminary budget for the project.

Projected FY 2016 Revenue
MCPS $ 250,000
County Government 250,000
Private Investment 250,000
Total $750,000
Anticipated FY 2016 Expenses
Director$180,000
Data Analyst 85,000
Community Organizer 85,000
Program Manager 75,000
Overhead 7,500
Funds retained for 2nd year programming 150,000
Burnt Mills ES Program 83,750
South Lake ES Program 83,750
Total $750,000

62. What has MCPS been able to achieve with the resources that were funded by Pearson?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: N/A

ANSWER:

In June 2010, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) entered into a contractual agreement with Pearson to secure financial resources, services, and professional expertise to accelerate the development and implementation of all components of our elementary school Curriculum 2.0 (C2.0). Pearson invested $1.25 million in development funds to support the project. The in-kind participation in the development of C2.0 facilitated the collaborative creation of the online professional learning component of C2.0 (short video clips, online courses, multimedia presentations) and the development of assessments.

The Pearson development monies funded two of the elementary integrated curriculum specialists on the Curriculum 2.0 development team, facilitated the implementation of C2.0 in MCPS by funding teacher substitutes for collaborative planning, curriculum study, and local school and core-team professional learning. The partnership also funded access to national consultants with expertise in the Common Core State Standards and the Thinking and Academic Success Skills.

A variety of products (professional learning and instructional resources) that support implementation of the MCPS C2.0 were developed, including the following:

  • Digital instructional resources support implementation of MCPS curriculum for reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. The resources include assessments, animations, and other instructional documents for student use.
  • Just in time content professional learning resources provide professional learning related to content knowledge for reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.
  • Thinking and Academic Success Skills performance-based assessments provide ways for assessing students’ use of the thinking and academic success skills. Pearson created a variety of resources including rubrics, teacher checklists, and student self-assessments. These items are being made available for grades K - 5.

63. Have we been able to catch up with all of the photographs that need to be archived?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: N/A

ANSWER:

The Editorial, Graphics & Publishing Services unit of the Department of Materials Management maintains a digital archive of all the photographs taken by long-time staff photographer, Mr. Bill Mills (retired 2013). This archive is maintained on a dedicated server with image-archival software (Aperture) at the Lincoln Center printing facility. It includes more than 200,000 digital images produced from 1999 to 2013. The images are searchable by date and, for more recent files, by imbedded meta data.

Photography prior to 1999 was produced with film and archived as prints with negatives, 35mm slides, and contact sheets. These materials are housed in 22 file cabinets in CESC. The archive dates back to 1968. The materials are stored in folders marked with information concerning image content and date.


64. Provide actual expenditure data for the language line services.

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 11-18

ANSWER:

The Language Line is a fee-for-service resource available to all Montgomery County Public Schools personnel for interpretation needs. The service is managed and monitored by the Language Assistance Services Unit (LASU) which is realigned to the Office of Communications from the Division of ESOL and Bilingual Services for FY 2016. The chart below outlines the budget and expenditures for the Language Line.

We will continue to monitor actual expenditures to determine if funds need to be realigned for Language Line services.

NOTE:
* FY 2015 includes projected expenditures.


65. What is the funding from the Neglected and Delinquent Grant used for?

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 2-12

ANSWER:

The FY 2016 Operating Budget includes $131,896 for the Title I, Part D – Program for Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk Children. Program funds provide mental health and academic support to MCPS students in alternative programs. Students may be referred to this program if they are not making satisfactory academic progress as measured by grade point averages, attendance rates, and behavioral histories.

Of the $131,896 budgeted, $18,552 is for professional part-time salaries to provide instructional support to students in alternative programs and at the the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. There also is $88,703 budgeted for contractual services for two social workers, $8,000 for school liaison support by the National Center for Children and Families, and $10,000 for fine arts and outdoor education services for students. In addition, there is $4,697 budgeted for instructional materials to support positive behavior interventions, and $1,944 for employee benefits.


66. How much is budgeted for the Food Market days? Provide data on the number of parents that attend and are engaging in our schools as a result.

Expand/Collapse Answer

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: 7-4

ANSWER:

There is $32,000 budgeted for Family Market days in the FY 2016 Operating Budget. During school year 2014-15, the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships (OCEP) collaborated with Galway and Greencastle elementary schools to host ten Family Markets. As of January 2015, five of the ten have taken place, serving an average of 125 families during each event. During these events, families interact with school and OCEP staff, and are able to access resource tables with information about services provided by community partners. Family Markets have enhanced each school’s capacity to gather parents, and have initiated dialogue and sharing between parents and school staff members.

The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provides $96,000 for Family Markets at Southlake Elementary School; Argyle, Loiederman, Montgomery Village, and Parkland middle schools; and John F. Kennedy High School. These events serve families in the Kennedy, Watkins Mill, and Wheaton clusters. DHHS estimates that these markets have provided food to 6,575 families.


TOC

FY 2016 OPERATING BUDGET QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS TABLE OF CONTENTS

Updated January 16, 2015

A
Actual and Budgeted Data for Various Types of Expenditures 10
Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program 18, 60
Amharic and Spanish Translations - New Positions 1
Arts Education - Governor's Task Force on Arts Education 50
B
Bilingual Assessment Team - Cost to Restore Speech/Language Pathologist 44
C
Children's Opportunity Fund (Children's Trust) - Update and Budget 61
Class Size Increase - Savings 17
Closing the Achievement Gap - Details and Initiatives in the FY 2016 Operating Budget 12
Counselors - Additional Positions Budgeted for High Schools 11
D
E
Early Retirement Incentive Program 15
Elementary Counselor Ratios - Comparison with Other Districts 38
English Composition Assistants 6
ESOL Staffing Ratios and Issue of Mobility 28
Evaluation of Special, Choice, and Signature Programs - Status 34
Extra-curricular Activity Fees - MCPS Revenue and Comparison Data 22
F
Food Market Days - Budget and Engagement Results 66
Furlough Day - Savings 23
G
Governor's Task Force Report on Arts Education 50
H
Home School Model for Students with Disabilities 9
I
Inflation Adjustment for Textbooks, Materials, and Supplies 16
Instructional Data Assistants for Elementary and Middle Schools 3
Internet Issues at Strathmore Elementary Schools 32
Interpreting Services at Parent/Teacher Conferences 36
J
K
L
Language Diversity - Inclusion in Workforce Diversity Enhancement 46
Language Instruction - Expansion to Additional Elementary and Middle Schools 29
Language Line Services - Actual Expenditures 64
Literacy - Approach in Secondary Schools 57
Lunch-hour Aides 4
M
METS Staffing Ratios 45
Middle Years IB Programme - Cost to Add at a Middle School, Impact of Enrollment 21
Middle Years IB Programme - Cost to Add a 9th and 10th Grade Program at Seneca Valley High School 41
Middle Years IB Programme at Sligo Middle School 14
N
Neglected and Delinquent Grant Funds 65
O
P
Pearson Funding 62
Pension Contribution - Savings if Changed to Actuarial Rate 13
Photographs - Archiving 63
Professional Development Path for Professionals without Teacher Certification 26
Promethean Boards 30
Psychologists - Impact of Changing Some Positions from 12 to 10-month 33
Q
R
Reading Support Teachers 5
Residency Verification - Impact on PPWs Workload 37
Restoration of Positions (Staff Development Teachers, Reading Specialists, Media Specialists, Counselors) to Full-time in Elementary Schools - Costs 42
S
Safety of Students Who Walk to School25
School Administrative Staff that are Fluent in Spanish48
Sligo Middle School - Cost to Add Middle Years IB Programme14
Staff Development Teachers - Savings from Eliminating Positions20
Staffing Allocations - Consideration of Changing to Needs-Based31
Staffing Ratios -Cost to Lower High School Ratio to Same as Middle Schools45
Step and General Wage Adjustment - Cost of October 3, 2015 Implementation7
Strathmore Elementary School Internet Issues32
Students Who Have Experienced Trauma From Fleeing their Home Countries - Training 43
Study Circles - Implementation and Cost to Expand49
Summer Orientation for Non-English Speaking Families to Navigate MCPS - Cost to Expand47
Superintendents Leadership Program24
Supplies and Materials - Music, Physical Education, Science/lab, Art52
T
Textbooks - Amount Budgeted and Alignment with Curriculum 2.019
Title I and Focus Schools - Staffing Allocations39
Training - Cost to Expand to Meet the Needs of Students who Fled From Their Home Countries43
Translation Services for Amharic and Spanish1
Transport ation Cluster Managers and Bus Route Supervisors - Cut Positions or Change to 10-month2
U
Unaccompanied Youth - Services Provided and Budget8, 43
V
W
Workgroups to Examine Unique Needs of Small and Large Schools27
X
Y
Year-Round School - Previous Studies/Data54
Z

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