Fiscal Year 2016 → Question 61
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:
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.