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Board of Education Approves FY 2013 Budget Request, Legislative Stances

February 15, 2012
The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. Among other items, the Board approved a Fiscal Year 2013 Operating Budget request for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS); discussed and approved its position on legislative issues; and discussed alternative financing and school modernization approaches.

FY 2013 Operating Budget Request

The Montgomery County Board of Education approved a $2.13 billion Operating Budget request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. The Board’s request represents a 2 percent increase over this year—the smallest increase request in more than a decade—and will allow the district to keep up with its growing and changing student enrollment as well as recognize the excellence of its employees. The Board’s request is the minimum allowable under the state’s Maintenance of Effort (MOE) provision, which requires that counties fund education at the same per-student level from one year to the next. The Board is seeking $1.39 billion in local funds from Montgomery County, an increase of $22.2 million over FY 2012. With enrollment expected to increase by more than 2,400 students, the increase in local funds will allow the county to keep its per-pupil investment at $9,759 per student and meet Maintenance of Effort. The county has failed to meet MOE for the past three years and since 2009, per-pupil funding has fallen by $1,490 per child. Overall, the Board endorsed Superintendent Joshua P. Starr’s recommended budget; however, the Board did approve extending hours-based staffing for special education services to all middle schools. Currently, 31 of 38 MCPS middle schools use hours-based staffing and Dr. Starr had recommended $170,000 to expand it to three additional schools. The Board will use $603,000 in state funding to expand hours-based staffing to all remaining middle schools. The Board will submit its budget request to the Montgomery County Executive and County Council on March 1. Read the Board Resolution on the Budget

Board members expressed deep concern over a proposal from Governor Martin O’Malley to shift a large portion of the state’s pension cost to local governments, saying it could have a devastating impact on the services provided by the county and the school district. Read the Board’s statement on the pension shift

Positions on Education Legislation

The Board discussed several pieces of legislation that are currently being considered by the Maryland General Assembly. Among the legislation the Board supports are: a bill that waives the $26.2 million penalty the state can impose because the Montgomery County Council did not meet Maintenance of Effort in FY 2012; a bill that would raise the compulsory age for school attendance; and a proposal that would allow an employee to use unpaid leave in order to attend a parent-teacher conference. The Board opposed other pieces of legislation, mainly those that mandated changes to curriculum or assessment programs. Read the Board positions

Alternative Financing for Capital Projects and School Modernization Approach

The Board had a broad discussion on the idea of using alternative financing methods for the construction of school projects. Such financing methods could include performance contracting and public-private partnerships. MCPS has participated in alternative financing through a public-private partnership for the installation of artificial turf at Richard Montgomery and Walter Johnson high schools. Alternative financing methods do present a number of issues that would need to be worked out before being utilized. The Board also discussed how the district approaches school modernization projects. The conversation affirmed that MCPS is approaching school modernizations in the most economical way possible, but also should continue to explore whether other strategies could be used in the future.
Read the Board memo

Administrative Appointments

The Board of Education approved the following administrative appointment:

- Eric P. Kuhn, currently acting supervisor, Division of School-Based Special Education Services, as supervisor, Division of School-Based Special Education Services.

Review of Policy CNA—Informational Material and Announcements

The Board of Education voted to consider reviewing policy CNA, which guides the distribution of informational material and announcements to students in Montgomery County Public Schools. Currently, non-profit organizations can disseminate information to students at four designated times throughout the year. However, the public has asked the Board to reconsider this policy, which is based on a federal court decision. The Board will vote at a future meeting whether to refer the matter to the Board’s Policy Committee for review. Read the current policy

Other Policies: The Board took action on three policies.
-  Gave final approval to
Policy ECM, Joint Occupancy of MCPS Facilities
-  Gave final approval to Policy KGC, Child Care
-  Gave tentative approval, Policy BBB, Ethics, which will now be posted for public comment and submitted to the State Ethics Commission for review.

Other Action: The Board also took action on several items, including:  -  Appointed architects to conduct feasibility studies for additions at Capt. James E. Daly, Christa S. McAuliffe, Judith A. Resnick, and Strawberry Knoll elementary schools
-  Awarded contracts for additions at Bradley Hills and Darnestown elementary schools

Please see the Board of Education agenda for details on these and other items.

About the Board of Education

The Montgomery County Board of Education is the official educational policymaking body in the county. The Board is responsible for the direction and operation of the public school system. The Board consists of seven county residents elected by voters for a four-year term and a student elected by secondary school students for a one-year term. Board members are elected countywide but run at-large or from the Board district in which they reside.

Montgomery County Board of Education: Ms. Shirley Brandman, president; Mr. Christopher Barclay, vice president. Members: Ms. Laura Berthiaume, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Michael Durso, Mr. Phil Kauffman, Ms. Patricia O’Neill, and Mr. Alan Xie, student member. Dr. Joshua P. Starr, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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