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Management, Budget, and Planning → FY 2013 Budget Questions and Answers

FY 2014 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.

1. How much would it cost to add the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) at all Seneca Valley Cluster middle schools?

Budget page reference: 1-11 and 4-16

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a Grade 6 through Grade 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 Martin Luther King Jr. and Roberto W. Clemente middle schools for FY 2014 would cost $234,986. This includes $130,036 for substitutes, professional part-time, travel for staff development, dues, registration and fees, and instructional materials. To add 1.6 teacher positions (.8 at each school) would cost $104,950, including employee benefits.

Program and cost configurations for adding MYP to the Seneca Valley cluster are indicated in the table below. 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 Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School or Roberto W. Clemente Middle School

$117,493

2.

MYP at both Martin Luther King Jr. and Roberto W. Clemente middle schools

$234,986

3.

MYP at Seneca Valley High School (Grades 9 and 10) (0.6 FTE Coordinator)

$71,865

4.

MYP at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, Roberto W. Clemente Middle School, and Seneca Valley High School

$306,851

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.

2. Is there a national standard on the number of students per instrumental music teacher? What formulas or standards do other jurisdictions in Maryland use?

Budget page reference: 1 - 3

There is no national standard on the number of students per instrumental music teacher.  The staffing formula, models, and standards for other Maryland districts vary. MCPS staff contacted other Maryland school systems to determine the class sizes for instrumental music. Some districts provided the range of class sizes and others provided their average class size.  MCPS falls in the middle with an average of nine students per class. 

Name of County

Average Class Size*

Frederick

NA

Montgomery

8 to 9

Fairfax, VA

7

Anne Arundel

12

Baltimore County

10

Prince George's

8 to 10

Howard

10 to 15

Harford

10 to 15

Carroll

9

Charles

18

Washington

4 to 22

Calvert

10 to 12

Cecil

4 to 6

Wicomico

5 to 10

Dorchester

7 to 25

The current MCPS process for providing instrumental music staffing allocations to schools includes the following:

  • At the end of January, staff members in the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs calculate the percentage of all students in grades 4 and 5 in each elementary school that are sectioned into instrumental music during the second marking period.
  • The percentage is then applied to the number of all students in grades 3 and 4 in each elementary school to project the number of students who will take instrumental music in grades 4 and 5 for the following school year. 
  • This provides a projected student enrollment number for instrumental music that is used to allocate the staffing.  MCPS allocates a .1 FTE, four-hour employee, for 46 students. A four-hour teacher provides on average five 30 minute sections of instruction.   This results in an average of 8 to 9 students per section.  Because this is an average, there are outliers where classes are larger and smaller than this average. 

This process was developed with principal input and has been in place for approximately five years.

3. How does MCPS determine what high schools will receive the College Institute program? How many students may be impacted by the loophole in the Dream Act that may impact their ability to receive in-state tuition?

Budget page reference: 4-35

All MCPS high schools are able to offer college courses through a concurrent enrollment program. High school students who meet enrollment qualifications are able to take college courses from any postsecondary institution which has concurrent enrollment programs. Currently, the majority of MCPS comprehensive high schools, in addition to RICA, have students enrolled in college courses. 

College Institute is one type of concurrent enrollment program.  The College Institute is offered at four MCPS high schools: Gaithersburg, John F. Kennedy, Seneca Valley, and Thomas S. Wotton.  These four high schools were included in the original Memorandum of Understanding with Montgomery College, established in 2002, to offer college courses on the high school campuses.  

Testimony provided on behalf of the Gaithersburg Cluster estimates that 20 students in the cluster may be impacted by the Dream Act loophole. However, MCPS does not keep data on undocumented students and there is no official data available on how many students may be impacted by the loophole in the Dream Act. Higher education institutions identify undocumented students based on information they collect during the college application process.  The number of undocumented students from each college or university is not reported to MCPS.

4. Several years ago psychologists and PPW’s moved from central locations to locations based in schools. What has been the impact on services to school and students?

Budget page reference: Chapter 5-59

Four years ago, pupil personnel workers (PPWs) and psychologists were relocated from the three field offices to 16 school-based sites.  Locating the offices in some schools has made meeting locations more accessible to some parents, and the change in office structure has led PPWs and school psychologists to schedule formal collaboration meetings more consistently.  In those meetings, the professionals have an opportunity to exchange ideas and share resources, which are then taken back to specific situations for the benefit of students and families.   Additionally, the change has created a single supervisor for PPWs and school psychologists assigned to schools.  This has reduced variability and improved consistency in professional development, supervision, and communication.  Also, the supervisor is able consider and resolve issues that may arise regarding the delivery of services to students and families.

5. What are the criteria for budgeting psychologists in other Maryland jurisdictions, and is there a national standard? Since the number of psychologists has not kept pace with student enrollment, are there plans to begin to address this, and what would be the projected costs? Also, provide the cost of a full-time psychologist position.

Budget page reference: 5-59

Nationally, the average ratio of students to school psychologists is approximately 1,350 to 1,400 students to each full-time psychologist.  However, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) recommends that the ratio of school psychologists to students should not exceed 1,000 students to 1 school psychologist.  Also, NASP recommends that school systems that deploy psychologists to provide comprehensive and preventive services (e.g., behavioral interventions, consultations, evaluations, and crisis response) should use a ratio that does not exceed 500 to 700 students to 1 school psychologist.  NASP recommends that when school psychologists are assigned to work primarily with students with intensive needs (e.g., students with autism spectrum disorders and students with significant emotional or behavioral disorders), the student to school psychologist ratio should be even lower. 
The FY 2014 budget includes 95.0 FTE psychologist positions.  Of these, 68.5 FTE psychologist positions are budgeted in the Department of Student Services (DSS).  These staff provide services to all students in the 196 comprehensive elementary, middle, and high schools, including those with more intense needs, such as students with autism spectrum disorder and those enrolled in Fundamental Life Skills and School/Community-Based programs.   
There are 18.5 FTE school psychologist positions budgeted in the Department of Special Education Services as follows: 


Unit or School 

FTE 

Autism Unit

2.0

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

0.5

Developmental Evaluation Services for Children

1.5

Emotional Disabilities Services/Bridge Program

7.5

Placement and Assessment Services

2.5

Preschool Education Program

3.0

Carl Sandburg

1.0

Rock Terrace

0.5

Also, there are 5.0 FTE psychologist positions in the budget for the Bilingual Assessment Team and 3.0 positions are budgeted in the Prekindergarten and Head Start budget.

The most recent report of the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) regarding school psychologists employed in Maryland used data collected during the 2011–2012 school year.  As indicated below, data showed that the ratio of total student enrollment per psychologist in larger Maryland school systems ranged from 658 students per psychologist (Baltimore City Public School System) to 1,522 students per psychologist (Montgomery County Public Schools).

School System 

Total Number
of Students  

Psychologist Positions (FTE) 

Ratio of Students to Psychologist 

Anne Arundel County

76,303

63.5

1,202: 1

Baltimore City

84,212

128

   658: 1

Baltimore County

105,153

85.4

1,231: 1

Charles County

26,778

31

   864: 1

Howard County

51,555

64

   806: 1

Montgomery County

146,459

96.2

1,522: 1

Prince George's County

123,833

88

1,407: 1

The following information shows how Maryland school systems, including MCPS, employ a range of practices and formulas for allocating psychologists. 
Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) 
AACPS maintains a ratio of approximately 1,200 students to 1 psychologist.  AACPS allocates school psychologists to schools as follows:

Comprehensive Schools 

FTE 

Elementary school with less than 600 students

0.2

Elementary school with 600 or more students

0.4

Middle school

0.6

High school

1.0

AACPS allocates an additional 0.2 FTE psychologist for regional special education programs, such as Multiple Intensive Needs Classes, and regional programs for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and students with Emotional Disabilities (ED).
Baltimore City Public School System (BCPSS) 
BCPSS allocates a full-time school psychologist for every 850 students. 

Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) 
BCPS currently staffs school psychologists at a ratio of approximately 1,250 students for
1 psychologist.  Since 2005, BCPS has included a 0.6 FTE school psychologist allocation in its operating budget whenever a new school opens.  BCPS does not allocate school psychologists to schools by a specific formula. 
Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS)
FCPS does not have a formula for allocating psychologists. 
Howard County Public Schools (HCPS) 
HCPS maintains a ratio of approximately 800 students to 1 psychologist.  HCPS applies the following formula to allocate FTE psychologists to schools and special education programs:


Comprehensive Schools 

FTE 

Elementary school

0.4–0.5

Middle school

0.5

High school

0.4

Elementary schools  > 750 students; secondary schools > 1,500 students

1.0

Additional allocation for schools with identified or “targeted” need

0.1–0.4

Special Education Programs 

FTE 

Part C Regional Early Childhood Center (birth to age 3 years)

0.1–0.4

Multiple Intense Needs Program

0.1

Local and regional Fundamental Life Skills programs

0.1–0.2

Local and regional ED Program

0.2–0.4

Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) 
PGCPS does not have a staffing formula for psychologists.

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS)
MCPS does not have a staffing formula for psychologists, although prior to the beginning of the fiscal crisis in FY 2009, positions were added for new schools.  In fact, in FY 2008 there were 102.8 psychologist positions budgeted. Since FY 2009, MCPS has had to cut hundreds of positions and there has been little opportunity to add positions without cutting others. In 2012, the Joint Collaboration Committee for Psychological Services (JCCPS) developed a staffing and hiring proposal based upon school levels (i.e., elementary, middle, or high), number of students, and special programs (e.g., Extensions, Stephen Knolls, Transition Training for Independence, etc.).  At that time, the JCCPS staffing and hiring proposal recommended a ratio of 1,500 students to 1 psychologist.

Using FY 2014 projected enrollment (excluding charter school and Gateway to College enrollment) and a ratio of 1,500:1, an additional 5.75 FTE psychologist positions would need to be added to the budge at a cost of $804,660, including employee benefits.  The cost of a 1.0 FTE psychologist position is $139,941, including benefits.  

6. Of the elementary schools that lack a full-time guidance counselor, how many are focus schools and what would it cost to restore a full-time guidance counselor at every elementary school?

Budget page reference: 1 - 3

In FY 2012, MCPS was required to make budget reductions totaling $125 million, including reductions in staff development teacher and counselor positions.  School principals were given the option to choose how reductions would be made among their guidance counselor, staff development teacher, media specialist, and reading specialist positions.

The Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2014 Operating Budget includes 13 schools who selected a .5 or 1.0 guidance counselor position reduction.  Other schools chose to reduce staff development teacher, media specialist, or reading specialist positions. 

Of the 13 schools that currently lack a full-time guidance counselor position, one is a focus school.  Twelve of the 13 schools reduced their guidance counselor positions from a 1.0 to .5 FTE, while the remaining school had a reduction of a 1.0 to .8 FTE.  To restore the 6.2 guidance counselor positions, the costs will be $405,780, including employee benefits.

7. What supports do we provide small elementary schools unable to provide two classes per grade level?

Budget page reference: :  N/A

There are numerous ways that a teacher receives support when he/she is the only teacher in a grade level at school.  These include the following:

  • The Instruction Center in myMCPS provides online resources that teachers can access and utilize.  These anytime/anywhere “just-in-time” electronic resources include instructional materials and professional development opportunities. There also are opportunities for teachers to post and share resources electronically.
  • Staff development teachers, reading specialists, and media specialists support teachers by helping them plan and by providing other supports such as coaching and professional development.
  • Central office instructional specialists including curriculum, ESOL, special education, and technology specialists are available to provide consultation and support as needed. 
  • In some cases, quad- and quint-clusters are arranging opportunities for teachers to meet together to share best practices and resources using the substitute time provided for collaborative planning.
 

8. What funds will be available to provide training and materials for Curriculum 2.0?

Budget page reference: 1-3

The FY 2014 Elementary Schools budget includes professional development support of $1,434,699. Also included in this budget is $760,000 for instructional materials to support the rollout of Curriculum 2.0 in grades 4 and 5.

9. Explain why the projected number of students in the Bridge Program will be 30 less than the number budgeted for FY 2013.

Budget page reference: 5-48

The Office of Special Education and Student Services has analyzed data regarding the capacity and monthly enrollment in the Bridge Program. Students who access middle school Bridge Program are those that received a variety of special education services at the elementary level.  Middle school students who receive Bridge services traditionally articulate to high school Bridge services, resulting in a more predictable enrollment projection than at the middle school level.

The development of the FY 2014 special education budget included a review of trend data for the past five years.  These data indicate that the Bridge Program continues to experience growth. However, within the past two years, the enrollment patterns have stabilized.  To ensure the quality of services for this population, MCPS has maintained the teacher station staffing model of four teachers at the middle school level and seven teachers at the high school level.  Maintaining the teacher station model allows for a potential increase in student enrollment without the need to request additional staffing to provide these highly specialized services.  The analysis revealed the following factors that resulted in decision to project a decrease in enrollment for FY 2014.

  • The peak projection in the FY 2013 budget of 220 students was too high.  As of September 30, 2012, actual FY 2013 enrollment is 177 students.
  • Actual average enrollment trend from FY 2011 to FY 2013 shows an increase of approximately 10 students per year.
  • Following the trend, enrollment is projected to be 190 students, 13 students above actual FY 2013 enrollment but 30 less students than budgeted in FY 2013.
 

10. Respond to the Magruder Cluster testimony that noted that Shady Grove Middle Schools’ copier is malfunctioning regularly and that a new one is needed.

Budget page reference: N/A

The copier issues noted in the Magruder Cluster testimony were resolved prior to the budget testimony.  In fact, the same day the issue was brought to the attention of the community superintendent, a technician was sent to the school to assess the equipment. The timespan between the community superintendent receiving the email about the issue and the resolution was less than three days.    The original copier was fixed on the day the email was received by the community superintendent.  In addition, during this time the school placed a request for a second copier machine. The new copier was ordered and will be delivered to the school on or about March 15, 2013.  

The current MCPS copier cost structure is one that requires that schools pay for onsite copying (per copy costs and leases), while central copying for schools is funded centrally.  Therefore, when schools acquire additional copy machines, they must assume the additional expense associated with the cost of copying.

11. The FY 2013 Operating Budget included funds to add the Advancement Via Individual Determination program (AVID) in five middle schools. Was consideration given to funding an expansion of AVID? Please explain why there is not a recommendation for expansion to other middle schools in the FY 14 budget.

Budget page reference: 1-11

The AVID implementation plan includes five middle schools during the 2012–2013 school year.  

  • Forest Oak Middle School began implementation planning in spring 2012 and implementation of AVID began in the 2012–2013 school year.  
  • The other four middle schools are Benjamin Banneker, Martin Luther King, Jr., Col. E. Brooke Lee, and White OakThese schools will use the 2012–2013 school year as an implementation planning year, working collaboratively with a supervisor in the School-based Instruction and Achievement Unit. These schools will implement AVID in the 2013–2014 school year. 

MCPS staff will complete implementation of the program at the five schools and evaluate progress before expanding the program to additional schools.

12. With respect to the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program, what are the plans for future funding of the program? Will MCPS be expected to increase funding over time as we expand to more high schools? Is there an expectation that MCPS will be seeking a partnership or grant funding for the future of ACES?

Budget page reference: 2-21

MCPS agreed to the following financial responsibilities for FY 2014 to ensure the success of the ACES program in the Memorandum of Understanding between Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, and the Universities at Shady Grove, signed by Dr. Starr, Dr. Pollard, and Dr. Edelstein on March 28, 2012:

  • Provide a 10-day summer program, Exposure to College Life, for students between Grades 9 -10, at an estimated cost of $11,000 for eight College and Career Information Coordinators;
  • Provide a 10-day summer program, Advanced Placement 6 Preparation and Academic Intervention, for students between Grades 10-11, at an estimated cost of $76,037 for 32 teachers.

Based the March 28, 2012 memorandum, the anticipated MCPS future funding obligations are as follows:

  • Provide strategic oversight at a cost of $18,927;
  • Provide financial resources for 8 FTE counselors, at a cost of $15,504 to participate in training and articulation meetings in order to identify targeted students for ACES program during the Grade 8 articulation process;
  • Provide resources for technical support at eight high schools at an estimated cost of $54,476 in order to ensure that college-track four-year plans (individual electronic student portfolios) are developed;
  • Provide and monitor academic intervention and supports, collect relevant data for ongoing program evaluation, and conduct college readiness activities for targeted Grades 9-10 students and parents at an estimated cost of $133,182;
  • In conjunction with all three partners, MCPS will be primarily responsible for the creation of a comprehensive communication plan and materials for the programmatic, promotional, and recruitment goals including flyers, correspondence, and video and community outreach at a cost of $10,000.

All partners are pursuing alternative funding opportunities for ACES.

13. TABLE 2, Budget Revenue by Source anticipates a reduction of revenue for Outdoor Education. Please explain. Is that driven only by the reduced enrollment or will there be a reduction in the program? Similarly, there is an anticipated increase in student activity fees revenue. Is that driven solely by enrollment or is there a planned increase in the fee?

Budget page reference: iii-1

Estimated revenue for Outdoor Education for FY 2014 as shown on Table 2, Budgeted Revenue by Source, is based on trends. The Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2014 Operating Budget does not include any changes in the program.  Estimated revenue for Outdoor Education for FY 2014 is $525,000.  This amount is lower than the amount budgeted for FY 2013 by $49,560.  The decision to lower the amount from FY 2013 is based on the fact that actual revenue received from FY 2010 to FY 2012 increased by approximately ten percent.  This percentage was applied to the actual FY 2012 amount to arrive at the estimated amount for FY 2014.

The Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2014 Operating Budget does not include an increase in the student activity fee and the estimated revenue for FY 2014 is based on trends.  Estimated revenue from student activity fees for FY 2014 is $725,000, an increase of $35,000 over the amount budgeted for FY 2013.  From FY 2010 to FY 2012, student activity fee revenue increased by 1.9 percent.  This percentage was applied to the actual FY 2012 amount to arrive at the estimated amount for FY 2014. 

14. In response to State Board decisions and proposed action on suspensions/expulsions, MCPS has increased reliance on Home and Hospital Teaching (HHT) to provide educational services to suspended/expelled students. Does the $170,922 proposed budget increase indicated at Chapter 5–66 anticipate the provision of HHT services to suspended students?

Budget page reference: 5-59

The budget increase of $170,922 is based on trend data on actual expenditures.  Staff will monitor spending to determine if the amount budgeted can support the full range of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students who need HHT services, including students affected by the State Board of Education’s anticipated revision of suspension and expulsion policies.  MCPS reviews each suspension and expulsion on a case-by-case basis and determines, in accordance with the needs of individual students, an appropriate educational program.  HHT is one of several options available to serve students.

15. Chapter 1-23 indicates under “Realignment”—a reduction of 2.2 vocational support teacher positions and 2.6 career preparation teacher positions. Please describe in more detail the anticipated impact of these reductions. Specifically, are these school-based positions and what populations do they serve? (also listed at 1-25)

Budget page reference: 1-23 and 1-25

The staffing guidelines that are based on number of students participating in the programs are used to allocate the vocational support teacher and career preparation teacher positions.  Based on these guidelines, the positions identified for realignment in FY 2014 are reserve positions in FY 2013 and are used to maintain class sizes in other classes.  The realignment will not have an impact on the program or class sizes.

16. As the State of Maryland reinstates the Government HSA, are there any budget implications for supporting students doing bridge projects to satisfy this graduation requirement?

Budget page reference: 1-19

There are no budget implications for the reinstatement of the Government HSA.  MCPS will continue to support students participating in bridge projects to satisfy graduation requirements with existing budgeted funds.

17. In FY 2012, MCPS increased the number of full day Head Start programs from 17 to 18 due to full enrollment. In light of the growing demographic of preschool students, please explain whether consideration was given to another expansion, and if not, why not?

Budget page reference: 4-13

Currently, the Division of Title I Programs (DTP) provides supplemental funding for the afternoon portion of existing Head Start programs in all Title I schools with Head Start classes.  The full-day, six-hour program is in its sixth year, and serves 360 federally-eligible children in
18 full-day Head Start classes that are located in 16 Title I schools. If there is a change in the designation of Title I schools, and these schools have a Head Start Program, then these programs can be increased to full-day programs. There are Head Start programs in non-Title I schools, but these programs cannot be expanded to full-day since Title I funds cannot be used in non-Title I schools.

18. In FY13, MCPS made a decision based on limited resources and staff capacity, to delay expansion of the SIPPI program (noted at 4-17). When is it expected that we will be ready to expand SIPPI and what resources will be required?

Budget page reference: 4-17 and 1-3

In FY 2010 and FY 2011, 31 elementary schools participated in a pilot of the Student Instructional Program Planning and Implementation (SIPPI), a streamlined process for Grade 2 global screening, course placement, and articulation. In FY 2012, based on the rollout of Curriculum 2.0 in Grade 2, a decision was made to delay expansion of SIPPI. In FY 2013, elements of SIPPI are being phased into all elementary schools and are being rolled out as SIPPI Phase I. Phase I is the upgrade to the global screening process.

In FY 2014, SIPPI Phase II, a further expansion, is planned. SIPPI Phase II will include an electronic tool that will monitor student instructional programming using “real-time” data and will be an integrated component of the ES-Articulation program in myMCPS.  Resources for the development of Phase II SIPPI are included in the work plan of the Office of the Chief Technology Officer.

19. The Board has had requests to offer funding support for several after school programs that promote student growth such as Exceptional Speakers program for students with disabilities and the SkillsUSA competition. Can we get a list of the extracurricular programs, if any, for which we currently provide funds? Can we also get information about extracurricular programs that we used to support (such as Destination Imagination) and at what funding level?

Budget page reference: 1-3 through 1 - 26

The FY 2014 operating budget includes $7,697,774 to fund stipends for coaches and sponsors of extracurricular activities.  There is $574,042 budgeted for elementary schools, $1,306,948 budgeted for middle schools, and $5,816,784 budgeted for high schools.  Attached is a list of Class I and Class III activities.

For middle and high schools, funding is provided for Class I extracurricular activities where  hours are allocated to each school to pay for coaches and sponsors for clubs or activities, and Class III activities.  For Class I, each school determines which additional clubs and activities it wants to host depending on the interests of the student body at that school.

Central funds also are allocated to purchase required equipment and uniforms for athletic teams.  In addition, a small amount is allocated to each school to support yearbook and newspaper activities.  All other funds needed for programs are raised through school fund-raising efforts.  Teams or clubs that wish to compete in events and activities or to travel to competitions and conferences must raise money or pay for it themselves.  This includes chess clubs, math clubs, marching bands, dance troupes, choirs, and social studies clubs. 

20. “Program Efficiencies” indicates that MCPS will no longer purchase materials for Leveled Reading Kits and READ 180 so that “individual school allocations will be used to replace these materials as needed”. Please explain. Will there be a commensurate increase in the individual school allocations? Do some schools have more students using READ 180 and will therefore have a greater impact on their individual allocations? There is also indication that MCPS will no longer support Triumph on-line SAT/PSAT preparation services—are these free to our students through College Board or will students now have to pay?

Budget page reference: 4-40

During FY 2010 through FY 2013, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction (DCI) in the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs made extensive purchases of Leveled Reading Kits and READ 180 to build school inventories for these programs.  Since schools have adequate inventories of these materials, DCI is able to reduce its department budget and the assessment budget for FY 2014 by $193,559.  During FY 2014, schools will use individual school allocations to replace materials as needed.  DCI will continue to provide support and professional development to schools implementing both programs, and will continue to allocate READ 180 licenses to secondary schools based on student enrollment in the program.

The preparation services for SAT/PSAT are free on the College Board website.  In addition, the ACT website provides free preparation services.  Both websites are currently being utilized by MCPS students allowing for the reduction of $98,000 for Triumph online services. 

21. The table on page 4-2 indicates that we are adding 18.49 positions to the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs. Please provide additional detail. Reading through the chapter it appears we are adding 8 positions for math implementation and 22 for ESOL. I cannot make the numbers add up.

Budget page reference: 4-2

The follow chart shows the change in positions by department in the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs (OCIP) which account for the additional 18.49 positions.

 

There are a total of 8.0 positions realigned to create the Mathematics Implementation Team. The chart above shows that only 2.0 positions are realigned to create 2.0 positions for the team. In addition, a 1.0 coordinator is realigned to create a 1.0 director within the Office of the Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instructional Programs. There is no net change in the number of positions in the Office of the Associate Superintendent of OCIP; therefore, this realignment does not appear in the above chart.

The Pearson Entrepreneurial Activities Fund in the budget of the Office of the Chief Operating Officer (page 8-12) includes 2.0 instructional specialists created through a realignment of substitute teacher salaries. In addition, it is assumed that the extension of the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) Grant will fund an additional 3.0 instructional specialists. This is a non-budged grant and the positions do not appear in the operating budget.

22. Please provide an update on the scope (how many schools are being served) and the funding for the Middle School Special Education Institute (MSSEI) for FY 14

Budget page reference: Chapter 5–25

The Office of Special Education and Student Services administers the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Local Priority Flexibility Grant, which is federal pass-through grant from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).  The amount of the grant is $58,491 and the funds are used to implement the Middle School Special Education Institute (MSSEI).

All middle schools are served through the MSSEI grant.  The goal of the MSSEI is to provide middle school coteaching teams, paraeducators, and speech pathologists access to professional development through observing exemplary practices related to differentiated instruction, coteaching, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  Selected middle schools were identified to provide staff members with the opportunity to observe exemplary instructional practices, debrief the observations, and plan for implementation at their school.

Since the 2010–2011 school year, Montgomery County Public Schools has used the grant funds to provided professional development for middle school coteaching teams beginning with Grade 6 and followed by Grade 7 in the 2011–2012 school year.

This year, quad-clusters are observing each of the identified exemplary middle schools during the school year. For example, all of the Grade 8 U.S. History coteaching teams within the Northeast Consortium, Sherwood High School cluster, and the Downcounty Consortium are provided with substitute coverage to observe the implementation of UDL practices at Rosa M. Parks Middle School on a designated morning. Grade 8 U.S. History coteaching teams participating in the observations are provided additional substitute time to support their continued planning and completion of a UDL lesson template at their school during the remainder of the instructional day.

23. Chapter 5-29 indicates a projected decrease in the number of hours of service required for students served by Hours-Based Staffing. Is this based on a change in the Hours-Based Staffing ratio or has the ratio stayed the same but the number of hours needed by currently enrolled students has decreased? Please clarify.

Budget page reference: 5–29

The Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2014 Operating Budget does not include any changes in the ratios or formulas used to generate the projections for the proposed budget or staffing allocations for the Office of Special Education and Student Services.  Based on data provided by schools regarding their student articulation patterns and the data extracted from the Online Administrative Student Information System/Special Services, the number of hours has decreased. This projected decrease in hours results in a reduction of 18.75 paraeducator positions.

24. There are several references throughout the budget to increased incorporation of UDL strategies in the implementation of Curriculum 2.0 both at the elementary and secondary level. There does not appear to be any increase requested for professional development or staffing to support this UDL expansion. Please explain how we are using existing resources to meet the increased UDL expansion.

Budget page reference: 5-20

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) projects are funded through Maryland State Department of Education grants.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Local Priority Flexibility Funds––Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an MSDE-approved project. The goal of the project is to build the capacity of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) staff to use best practices to support the creation of UDL teams. The budget of $21,168 supports collaborative UDL planning to meet diverse needs, hands-on practice with tools that support instruction, and the development of curriculum materials.

MCPS also won the Expanding Bridges competitive grant from MSDE with a budget of $667,596.  The funds will support a two-year project that includes several components, including a focus on differentiation through the establishment of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).  The PLCs will serve as a venue for providing professional development in the use of UDL principles.  PLCs focused on implementation of UDL practices will be established at four elementary and two middle schools during the 2012–2013 school year and expand to additional schools in the second year of the project.

25. Given the expected increase in demand on technology to implement CCSS assessments, how are we planning for anticipated increased need in support for local schools? What impact is likely as a result of the proposed reductions in OCTO (Chapter 9-9) on responsiveness to schools?

Budget page reference: 25

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) assessments require increased access to, and use of, technology. The offices of the Chief Technology Officer and Curriculum and Instructional Programs have been working closely with the Maryland State Department of Education to ensure that we develop a sufficiently robust infrastructure and integrate appropriate devices to meet these online assessment requirements.

Two essential components required for engaging in these online assessments are a robust infrastructure that facilitates reliable, high-speed Internet access for a large number of concurrent users without delays or disruptions in connectivity, as well as access to sufficient portable devices for testing that satisfy the technical and CCSS assessment requirements.

Through recent funding for a district-wide wireless implementation initiative, we have begun to strengthen schools’ wireless infrastructure to meet these demands.  The proposed reductions in the OCTO budget will have no impact on responsiveness to schools.

26. MCPS expectations for the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships continue to grow. The Office is being asked to build and manage growing partnerships as well as continue to provide support to an increasingly diverse student/family population. How have the demands on staff increased over time? What are the plans, if any, to increase the capacity of this Office?

Budget page reference: 7-3

The Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships (OCEP) are currently composed of three staff: the chief engagement and partnership officer, an administrative manager, and an assistant.  OCEP also includes the Department of Family and Community Partnerships (DFCP), which has 17.5 FTE staff positions.  Demands on OCEP staff, particularly those in DFCP, have increased in the following areas:

  • In FY 2012, in response to requests from schools and other organizations, DFCP staff provided 548 Parent Academy and other workshops in English, Spanish, and Korean to more than 15,000 parents. This was an increase of 385 workshops provided to 9,302 parents in FY 2011. The number of requests from schools and organizations continued to increase this fall along with the time needed to tailor presentations to the needs of local school communities.
  • Nine parent community coordinators provided direct support at special education meetings, parent-teacher conferences, suspension and expulsion hearings, and other school-related meetings to 1,342 families in FY 2012. 
  • The ASK MCPS call center handles an average of 1,200 calls per month.  The overall calls for FY 2012 were 10,829, up from 8,561 calls in FY 2011. From July through December 2012, 7,480 calls were received.
  • Staff responded to more than 1,400 e-mail queries and requests sent to the ASK MCPS e-mail address, an increase of ten percent over FY 2011.  From July to December 2012, DFCP staff responded to 1,149 inquiries.
  • DFCP staff support systemwide and community events, such as Listen and Learn, Community Day, town hall meetings, Board of Education Community Conversations, NAACP Parents’ Council meetings, and others with ASK MCPS information, resources, and facilitation.  Additionally, the number of requests for information and resources from community organizations requiring staff participation in meetings, conferences and fairs has continued to increase.  
  • Staff connects with over 200 community partners for the annual Back-to-School Fair, including gathering donations for the backpack and school supply give-away and coordinating their distribution. As the needs of county residents have grown, the demand for backpacks and school supplies also has grown.  At the August 2012 Back-to-School Fair, 8,133 backpacks were given away; 7,002 were distributed in August 2011. 

Additionally, OCEP staff continue to provide human services referrals, partner with nonprofit organizations, and collaborate with principals and other administrators within their assigned schools.

Work is underway to identify positions and resources in other parts of the organization that are currently used to provide services to the community, parents, and families.  It is anticipated that these resources will be aligned with the mission and work of this office.

27. Chapter 8-59 under realignment notes a realignment of $40,000 from the Field Trip Fund to support artificial turf replacement costs. Please explain.

Budget page reference: 8-59

The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) standard for high school stadium fields is a natural grass surface with an irrigation system. Stadium fields require a high level of maintenance that includes regular cycles of mowing, watering, fertilization, and aeration to maintain the fields in acceptable condition for various high school athletic events. Unfortunately, the majority of high schools and their Booster Clubs cannot make the financial commitment that is necessary to maintain a natural grass field in excellent playing condition. Therefore, there is a large disparity in the condition of stadium fields across the county.

The Department of Facilities Management (DFM) and the Interscholastic Athletics Unit staff have evaluated the use of artificial turf for MCPS high school stadium fields. Artificial turf provides a safe and durable surface for various athletic events and requires very little maintenance. The installation of artificial turf fields will eliminate the disparity in the condition of stadium fields among high schools across the county. The life expectancy of artificial turf fields is approximately ten years. The ten-year life-cycle cost to install artificial turf is approximately the same as the ten-year life-cycle cost to install and properly maintain a natural grass field.

A turf reserve fund has been created to build up funds necessary to cover future replacement of artificial turf after ten years.  The source of funding for this reserve fund is a portion of the Interagency Coordinating Board (ICB) fees that are charged for the rental of these turf fields, and the funds budgeted in the interscholastic athletics account that will no longer be needed to maintain the natural turf fields. 

During development of the FY 2014 budget, DFM estimated that annual payments of approximately $40,000 will be received from the ICB for the turf reserve fund.  Since there was excess appropriation available in the Field Trip Fund, appropriation was moved from the Field Trip Fund to the Real Estate Management Fund to cover the $40,000 that will be received from the ICB in FY 2014.

28. As noted in Chapter 8-75, the workload for the Division of Maintenance continues to grow rapidly without a commensurate increase in staffing. Kudos to the Division for all its efforts to increase efficiency which have been paying off. Are there proposed formulas for increasing staffing needs based upon further aging of existing facilities or rise in the number of work orders? Also, what is MCPS capacity to increase the number of participants in the HVAC Apprenticeship program?

Budget page reference: 8-75

Formulas for increasing staffing needs are primarily derived from monitoring and analyzing the backlog of uncompleted maintenance and repair work orders along with customer satisfaction feedback.  The increasing age of facilities and mechanical systems is a known and contributing factor in the growth of backlogs of maintenance and repair, but it is not used directly in computing staffing needs.  The Division of Maintenance does not have the supervisory or on-the-job training capacity to increase the number of participants in the HVAC Apprenticeship Program beyond the current level of four apprentices.

 

29. Please provide a five-year trend of actual and budgeted expenditures for supplies and materials broken down into: Textbooks, Media, Instructional Supplies, and Other by school level (elementary, middle and secondary). Has there been a decrease in the use of textbook funds in favor of expenditures on digital resources like e-books? What is MCPS vision for the future of classroom materials and the possible expansion of digital resources in the classrooms? What are the budget implications of this vision?

Budget page reference: 1-3 and 1-23

Attached is a chart that provides the five-year trend of budget and actual expenditures for textbooks, media, instructional supplies, and other materials by school level. 

Currently, digital resources are purchased through K-12 textbook funds and funds budgeted in the Office of the Chief Technology Officer.  There has not been a decrease in textbook funds in favor of digital resources, as the cost for these resources is the same and perhaps more than print materials. These digital resources also are not updated for free as is often assumed, and there is a cost for each new version. With the introduction of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), MCPS is in a transition period where the digital content materials are not yet aligned to the state and national level curricular changes. There is not yet a set timeline for the complete transition to digital textbooks at the exclusion of printed texts.  There are a number of challenges that must be addressed to facilitate this transition over the next two years.  These include ensuring that digital textbooks and resources are usable and address the needs of students with vision and hearing impairments and for whom English is a second language.

MCPS makes every effort to purchase textbooks that have online versions and digital resources that can be used at home and in the classroom. The MCPS goal related to textbooks is to find resources that are aligned with the curriculum and CCSS; engage students in thinking about substantive, relevant content; are current; are developmentally appropriate; and are cost effective.

30. The student/teacher ratio, on page 1-4, for physical education, art, and general music, projects an increase to 489:1 for FY 14 from the 486:1 ratio projected for FY 13. Please explain the rationale for this increase.

Budget page reference: 1-4

The art, music and physical education teachers are budgeted and allocated based on the number of classroom teachers in the school.  A full-time art, music, or physical education teacher can teach five sections per day, and 25 sections in a week.  Each section runs 35 to 50 minutes. The number of art, music, and physical education teachers MCPS budgets and allocates to each school is based on the number of teachers needed in each school. The student/teacher ratio for these teachers fluctuates each year depending on the distribution of students from school to school.  A change of three students represents three students throughout the week, or a .1 change in the average class size.

31. On page 1-6, please explain the reduction of the 43 lunch hour aide positions and the increase of $1,172,662 in lunch hour part-time salaries. Will there be any impact on the services provided as a result of this change?

Budget page reference: 1 - 3

The FY 2014 budget includes a technical realignment that eliminates 43.0 lunch hour aide positions and moves the related salary amount of $1,172,662 to fund salaries for part-time lunch hour aides.  Full-time equivalent positions are created for lunch hour aides who work 20 hours or more each week as a lunch hour aide for the entire amount of time, or as a lunch hour aide with another assignment such as a paraeducator.  Employees that work less than 20 hours per week are paid temporary part-time salaries.  The change aligns the budget to how funds are being used and there is no impact on services provided to students.

32. If the 5.0 instrumental music (IM) teachers are restored, how many students will be served per week by a full-time IM teacher? How does this ratio compare to surrounding school systems? What is an optimal staffing ratio for IM instruction? How many IM teachers must be added, beyond the 5.0 proposed, to achieve an optimal ratio?

Budget page reference: 1-3

The additional 5.0 elementary instrumental music teacher positions recommended in the FY 2014 Operating Budget will bring the .1 instrumental music allocation ratio down from 1:46 to 1:38.  A .1 teacher allocation is a four-hour employee. This represents five thirty-minute sections of instrument music. The number of students served per week by a full-time instrumental music teacher will range from 323–380. This establishes an average class size of between 8 and 9 students per class.  As indicated in the response to Question 2, the staffing formula, models, and standards for other Maryland districts vary. 

Information shared by community members indicating the instrumental music ratios have changed from 31:1 to 46:1 reflects the increase in the ratio for an instrumental music teacher. This does not reflect the average class size.  As noted in the response to Question 2 and above, the numbers are used to determine the .1 allocation to schools. Each .1 allocation represents approximately five sections of instrumental music. The ratios are used for allocation purposes and do not describe the class sizes.  

Although enrollment has increased over the past years, MCPS has not added additional staffing.  Despite enrollment increases MCPS has been able to stay below average class sizes of 9.  Because enrollment continues to grow, the additional 5.0 positions are requested to address the continued and projected growth in elementary schools. If staffing was returned to the FY 2008 allocation level of 1:31, a total of 48.8 positions would be required. This is an additional 8.6 positions beyond the 5.0 positions already requested. With a ratio of 1:31, class sizes would be lowered to an average of approximately six students per section. 

33. Please provide specifics on the proposed increase of $1,434,699 in stipends to support professional development and collaborative planning time due to the implementation of Curriculum 2.0 and Common Core State Standards? How will these funds be allocated?

Budget page reference: 1-3

Stipends for professional development and collaborative planning to support the implementation of Curriculum 2.0 and the Common Core State Standards are allocated in the following ways:

  • Math Elementary School Summer Training—Daily rate of pay for required Tier 1 summer training will be provided to Grades 4 and 5 teachers, ESOL teachers, special education teachers, staff development teachers (SDTs), and math content coaches (MCCs). 
  • Math Elementary School Collaborative Planning—Substitutes for job-embedded curriculum study/collaborative planning will be provided for Grades 3, 4, and 5 teachers; ESOL teachers; special education teachers; art, music, and physical education teachers; and MCCs.
  • Math Elementary School Additional Training—Substitutes/stipends for job-embedded curriculum study/collaborative planning will be provided for Grades K, 1, 2, and 3 teachers; SDTs; MCCs; ESOL teachers; and special education teachers.
  • Math Middle School Summer Training—Daily rate of pay for required Tier 1 summer training will be provided for Algebra 1 teachers, math resource teachers (RTs), SDTs, ESOL teachers, and special education RTs.
  • Math Middle School Collaborative Planning—Substitutes/stipends for curriculum study/collaborative planning will be provided for Algebra 1 teachers, Math RTs, ESOL teachers, and special education teachers.
  • Math High School Summer Training—Daily rate of pay for required Tier 1 summer training will be provided for Algebra 1 teachers, Math RTs, SDTs, ESOL teachers, and special education teachers.
  • Math High School Collaborative Planning—Substitutes/stipends for curriculum study/collaborative planning will be provided for Algebra 1 teachers, Math RTs, ESOL teachers, and special education teachers.
  • Math Middle and High School Core Team—Daily rate of pay for required Tier1 summer training will be provided for special education RTs, Math RTs, SDTs, and ESOL RT/representative.
  • Literacy Middle School Leadership Team—Daily rate of pay for required Tier 1 summer training will be provided for middle school literacy teams, comprised of SDT, ESOL RT/ representative, reading teacher/representative, and media specialist. Other content RTs will attend using existing summer hours.
  • Literacy High School Leadership Team—Daily rate of pay for required Tier 1 summer training will be provided for high school literacy teams, comprised of SDT, RT CTE/Careers RT, ESOL RT/representative, and media specialist. Other content RTs will attend using existing summer hours.

34. Please explain how the 10 proposed elementary math teachers will be used in support of accelerated math instruction? How many schools will each teacher support? Will all schools provide an accelerated curriculum, including compacted fourth and fifth grade math instruction?

Budget page reference: 1-3

As part of the Curriculum 2.0 mathematics rollout plan, students who consistently demonstrate strong proficiency on all grade-level indicators and acceleration and enrichment within Grade 3, may be considered for a compacted curriculum beginning in Grade 4. MCPS is developing a process for each school to identify these students .  It is anticipated that the number of students identified will vary from school-to-school and year-to-year.  Once the schools have identified these students  and students have been invited to attend the Highly Gifted Centers (HGCs), an analysis of individual school needs will be conducted.

At this point it is expected that a fixed, standardized model for each school will not be appropriate.  For example, an HGC may have a full class of students, meaning that no additional allocation is necessary.  Since the numbers of identified students could vary,
it is anticipated that program models will need to remain flexible. Staff in the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs are convening a group of principals who are representative of MCPS elementary schools, to fully develop flexible options to support students, whether in their local school or the HGCs. The number of schools each teacher will support will be determined once the number of students requiring a compacted curriculum has been identified .

35. responsibilities of this proposed team not included in the mission of the Office of Professional Development and School Support?

Budget page reference: 4-4

The Mathematics Implementation Team will work with schools identified for support by the offices of Curriculum and Instructional Programs (OCIP) and School Support and Improvement (OSSI).  Mathematics Implementation Team members are mathematics content specialists and will work side-by-side with school mathematics teams as they plan, look at student work, and deliver instruction.  The specialists will model, coach, and provide feedback to support instructional practices that result in improved student achievement.  As mathematics content specialists, it is critical that team members work closely with the mathematics supervisor and content specialist in OCIP who are revising the curriculum to align with the newly adopted Common Core State Standards and the Standards of Mathematical Practices.

The responsibilities of the proposed team are not included in the mission of OSSI because the mission statements in the operating budget document are based upon current office responsibilities and functions.

36. Please explain the funding sources for the Math Implementation Team, as described on 4 - 7? Specifically, clarify the use of the Pearson Entrepreneurial Activities Fund, as referenced in Chapter 8, since Chapter 8 - 14 states that the 2 instructional specialists will be funded through realignment from substitute teacher salaries. In addition, in the event that the i3 grant is not extended, how will the 3 instructional specialists be funded?

Budget page reference: 4-7 and 8-12

The chart below shows how the Mathematics Implementation Team is created in the budget.

question 36 chart

The Mathematics Implementation Team consists of 8.0 positions. A 1.0 coordinator is realigned to a 1.0 director within the Office of the Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instructional Programs (OASCIP). In addition, 1.0 instructional specialist position is realigned from the Department of Enriched and Innovative Programs, and a 1.0 administrative secretary is realigned from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction to the team in OASCIP. The Pearson Entrepreneurial Activities Fund in the Office of the Chief Operating Officer (page 8-12) includes 2.0 instructional specialists created through a realignment of $220,000 from substitute teacher salaries.  In addition, it is assumed that the extension of the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) Grant will fund an additional 3.0 instructional specialists. This is a non-budged grant and the positions do not appear in the operating budget.

If the request to extend the grant is not approved, other resources may need to be identified to support this program enhancement.

37. How many additional classroom teachers are allocated to Down County Consortium schools to support reduced class size in Grade 9 core academic classes? How many additional teachers would be required to provide similar staffing to non-DCC high schools with ever-FARMS populations that exceed 50%? What high schools would benefit from such a staffing increase? As an alternative, how many teachers would be required to reduce staffing ratios in high school math and English classes, similar to the proposal for Middle School Focus Teachers, at DCC schools and schools and those schools with high ever-FARMs populations?

Budget page reference: 1-19

The FY 2013 operating budget includes 26.5 additional teacher positions for the Downcounty Consortium (DCC).  Of the 26.5 positions, 21.5 are teacher positions and 5.0 are resource teacher positions, 1.0 per school.  The teacher positions are allocated to lower class size in Grade 9 English, mathematics, science, and social studies.  The allocations are based on a formula that determines the number of extra teacher positions required to lower the class size. However, the Blair High School magnet students are not included in the calculation. There are three schools other than the DCC schools with a FARMs rate greater than 40 percent.  To reduce class size in the four classes for 9th graders at these three schools, an additional 12.4 teacher positions at a cost of $811,561, including employee benefits, would need to be added to the budget.  In order to reduce class sizes for only mathematics and English an additional 6.2 positions would need to be added at a cost of $405,780, including employee benefits. 

Note: Because ever-FARMs data is not readily available, FARMs data has been used to answer the questions. However, an updated response will be forwarded once the ever-FARMs data is available.  A FARMs rate of 40 percent has been used because ever-FARMs data is greater than FARMs data.  

38. The proposed staffing for reading initiative teachers is unchanged from 2012 and 2013 levels. What are the responsibilities of these teachers? Please explain why this staffing has not increased consistent with enrollment? What are the caseloads for reading initiative teachers over the last five years?

Budget page reference: 1-3

Reading initiative teachers are allocated to non-focus schools to teach reading to first and second grade students.  Reading is taught for 90 minutes each day.  The reading initiative positions are allocated in .3 increments for each section of reading initiative required at a school.  The guideline formula is based on a class size of 20 students per class. As enrollment increased in grades 1 and 2, MCPS added sections of classroom teachers for these grade levels. 

This means that the need for reading initiative teacher positions has not increased.  In fact, in some cases the need for reading initiative teacher positions at a school may decrease depending on where the additional grade level sections are added.  For example, if a school has 75 students in Grade 1, then three classroom teacher positions are allocated.  An additional .3 reading initiative teacher position is allocated to the school so that the reading class sizes remain within the guidelines.  If the enrollment in Grade 1 goes up to 80 the following year, then a fourth classroom teacher position is allocated to school. Since the class size is at 20, a reading initiative teacher is not needed.

In other cases, an additional classroom teacher is added and the number of reading initiative sections remains the same.  There are some cases where no classroom teacher positions are added, but increases in enrollment result in an additional reading initiative teacher position being allocated.  The balance of these changes results in reading initiative being approximately the same each year even though the number of classroom teacher positions increase with enrollment.

39. Please explain the $92,925 reduction for student scheduling materials in the High School budget, on page 1 - 23? What will be the impact of this reduction?

Budget page reference: 1-23

The FY 2014 Operating Budget includes a reduction of $92,925 for student scheduling materials that is based on implementing process improvements and efficiencies.  In the past, the funds were used for scheduling software licenses.  A new training process that the Office of the Chief Technology Officer is implementing will train a greater number of scheduling staff in fewer sessions.  The majority of scheduling support to schools will be provided in a group setting, as opposed to one-on-one sessions that have been provided in past years. This will result in lower costs for vendor licenses.  The anticipated impact on schools is positive in that the schedulers will complete their master schedules in less time.

40. Please justify the 1.0 supervisor position in the Office of the Deputy Superintendent for Teaching, Learning, and Programs, to oversee the collection and analysis of data on intervention programs. Why can’t this work be performed by the Office of Shared Accountability?

Budget page reference: 3-3

For FY 2014, the position of interventions supervisor is added in the Office of the Deputy Superintendent of Teaching Learning and Programs (OTLP) to strategically integrate the system intervention work.  As part of the effort to close the achievement gap, the position will coordinate the collection of data regarding interventions currently in place in schools.  This is a considerable effort in that schools employ many different programs and strategies to help struggling students.

The data will help staff understand what programs and strategies are working in schools, what additional resources may be required, and what resources may need to be redirected to improve student success.  The position will optimize the integration of the interventions work across offices and will ensure that there is collaboration between OTLP, the Office of School Support and Improvement, and Office of the Chief Operating Officer.

The interventions supervisor will build the systems, structures, and mindsets that support, enable, and lead to effective support of all students, clarify our definition of interventions, and personalize all learners’ needs through effective data usage and a collaborative team approach. 

41. Please explain the proposed increase for middle school student/counselor ratios from 235:1 in FY 2013 to 242:1 in FY 2014. How many additional counselors would be required to maintain existing ratios?

Budget page reference: 1-12

Counselors are allocated to individual schools based on a target ratio of 250:1.  Because enrollment at each school fluctuates from year-to-year, the overall ratio changes slightly.  Small changes in enrollment at individual schools do not warrant additional staffing unless MCPS is unable to maintain the target ratio of 250:1.  However should this occur, additional positions would be recommended in the budget.  Therefore, as long as the target ratio is maintained, staffing remains constant and the systemwide ratio will fluctuate slightly from year- to-year. 

42. What training is currently provided to staff so they may recognize possible mental health issues, such as depression, affecting students? Is such training mandatory? Is it provided annually? Are there best practices that could be replicated in MCPS? What would be the costs associated with increasing such training?

Budget page reference: 5-59

Currently, there is ongoing professional development provided for school counselors throughout the year at their monthly/quarterly meetings.  Issues such as anxiety disorders, depression, grief counseling, crisis intervention, and child abuse are reviewed and updated to keep counselors abreast of current trends and best practices.  Similar professional development is provided to school psychologists and pupil personnel workers (PPWs) at their regularly scheduled meetings.  During summer 2012, the Department of Student Services (DSS) delivered professional development regarding suicide awareness for psychologists, PPWs, resource counselors, English for Speakers of Other Languages counselors, and social workers.  Individual schools provide professional development based on their school improvement processes and specific needs identified for students, staff members, and families.  This professional development is not mandatory. 

Most of the professional development provided for DSS staff members is facilitated/provided through partnerships with community agencies, including the following:

  • National Institutes of Health
  • Mental Health Association
  • Medical offices
  • Commission on Youth and Children
  • Screening and Assessment Services for Children and Adolescents

There are many best practices, training, and programs that address mental health concerns.  MCPS, however, has not adopted or purchased a specific training program to train MCPS staff members regarding mental health issues. MCPS is pursuing additional professional development opportunities in collaboration with Montgomery County Child Welfare Services and the Seattle-based Casey Foundation.

The costs of increasing training would vary according to a number of factors, such as the number of staff to be trained, the need to hire outside consultants to conduct the training, or the specific program that addresses identified mental health needs. 

43. The Special Education Staffing Plan, on Page ix-1, provides that all of the staffing plan elements required by MSDE are included in the operating budget. Please list all required elements and specifically identify where they are included in the budget. In addition, what were the specific recommendations of the Special Education Staffing Committee that were submitted to the Department of Special Education? For each recommendation that was made, please provide the rationale for their acceptance or rejection.

Budget page reference: ix-1 and Special Education Staffing Plan

Local school systems are required by the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 13A.05.02.13 D and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to develop a yearly staffing plan to ensure that sufficient staff  are available to meet the programming needs of students.  The entire FY 2014 Special Education Staffing Plan is not included in the operating budget document but has been distributed as separate document.  The following are the identified staffing plan elements and their associated page numbers within the Staffing Plan document:

  • Evidence of public input - Page 5.
  • Evidence of maintenance of effort within the meaning of 34 C.F.R. 300.321, Maintenance of Effort, and COMAR 13A.02.05, Maintenance of Effort - Page 13.
  • Staffing patterns of service providers of special education and related services -  Attachment A.
  • Consideration of time requirements beyond direct services - Page 8.
  • The number and type of service providers needed to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to each student with a disability in the least restrictive environment (LRE) - Attachment B.
  • Local accountability and monitoring - Page 8, 9.
  • Strategies to resolve concerns regarding staffing plans - Page 11.
  • Evaluation of the local staffing plan for effectiveness - Page 4.
  • Steps to secure public input in the development of the staffing plan - Page 5.
  • Information on how the public agency will use the staffing plan to monitor the assignment of staff members to ensure that personnel and other resources are available to provide FAPE to each student with a disability in the LRE - Pages 8, 9.

In light of the fact that that MCPS continues to face fiscal challenges for FY 2014, the Special Education Staffing Committee identified the following as the most important services and initiatives to preserve and protect:

  • Maintain the Home School Model (HSM) and transition more elementary schools as funds are available; consider staffing Learning and Academic Disabilities (LAD) schools similar to that of HSM.
  • Increase the budget for permanent itinerant paraeducators to support inclusion in LRE.
  • Increase paraeducator support at resource only schools.
  • Examine the model for the restructured Learning Center at Jones Lane Elementary School and explore the possibility of a downcounty site.
  • Continue support to middle and high school students with passing required assessments.
  • Maintain and increase the capacity of the Autism Unit to consult with teachers at all levels.
  • Continue professional development for paraeducators.
  • Review the staffing model for psychologists.
  • Increase central office staff members to support parents/families with the transition to different grade levels.

The FY 2014 Operating Budget includes an additional 101.6 positions and $9.4 million to fund special education enrollment and other program costs.  While the Office of Special Education and Student Services (OSESS) was unable to implement the first three priorities as stated, the budget maintains current HSM staffing formulas.  In addition, the budget includes $713,655, including employee benefits, for  additional temporary part-time paraeducators to address individual school needs as they arise in LAD and resource only schools, as well as to provide additional support for inclusion in LRE.

OSESS is committed to examining the model of the Jones Lane Learning Center to ensure the implementation of effective practices in instructing students with autism.  This analysis will be conducted in collaboration with Kennedy Kreiger Institute.  This location will provide county- wide access to students with autism who require the explicit strategies and practices as part of their daily instruction.  MCPS has designed a structure that will permit Learning Center teachers across the system to gain access to on-site and job-embedded professional development to replicate the Jones Lane Learning Center instructional model.

OSESS continues to support the instructional needs of secondary students with disabilities by monitoring High School Assessments and graduation rates to ensure plans of support are provided.  The support includes reading and mathematics interventions and professional development on instructional strategies to support students with disabilities.  MCPS was recognized by the Maryland State Department of Education Leadership Conference in October, 2012 for reducing the achievement and graduation rate gaps.

The budget includes an additional 32.14 positions to provide required services to students with autism spectrum disorders.  However, OSESS has provided professional development to build the capacity of teachers and paraeducators at all levels.  Staffing for the unit was increased in previous years to help address the need for unit staff to consult with teachers.

To meet the goal of improving the academic performance outcomes of students with disabilities in the LRE, the Department of Special Education Services, consistent with research and literature in the field of special education, needs to continue to work toward increasing the capacity of staff members to support the needs of students with disabilities in all settings.  As a result,   professional development for paraeducators, as well as general and special education teachers, will continue to be provided.

OSESS has reviewed the staffing model for psychologists. Additional positions were not added in the budget due to budgetary constraints. Also, budgetary constraints did not allow for an increasing of central office staff members to support parents/families with transition to different grade levels.  However, OSESS remains committed to partnering with community and outside agencies in order to support parents and families.  OSESS will continue to expand its outreach to community partners and use grant opportunities to support parents and families.

44. What is the status of the study that was undertaken to review 12-month positions to determine if any could be reduced to 10-month positions? Were any positions identified for a reduction? If so, are those reductions being implemented? If not, why not?

Budget page reference: N/A

A workgroup was convened to review the 12-month positions to determine if any positions should be recommended for a change in schedule from 12-month to 10-month.  The workgroup consists of members from each of the offices and representatives from each of the unions.  The groups established a process to review the positions and make recommendations to the Association Leadership/Deputy Superintendent/Chief Operating Officer Collaboration Committee (ADC).

The group performed an initial review of 1,082 different positions (182 A&S, 79 other professional, 49 supervisor, and 772 supporting services).  This included a total of 4,433 employees (674 A&S, 361 other professional, 95 supervisor, 3,303 supporting services).  The original list was narrowed to 145 different positions that would be reviewed using established criteria (11 A&S, 68 other professional, 3 supervisor, and 63 supporting services).  These 145 positions were reviewed and a report was presented to the ADC with recommendations for changes and further study.    It was also determined that workgroups would be created to further study the positions being recommended for change.  Final recommendations of the workgroups will be submitted to ADC in early spring. 

45. For each cluster with a high school IB program, which middle schools do not have an IB program? What would be the cost to add a middle year IB program at each of these schools?

Budget page reference:1-11 and 4-22

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a Grades 6–10 program.  Costs vary from year-to-year based on the number of staff members requiring professional development and the IB fees charged.  On average, adding an MYP at one middle school for FY 2014 would cost $117,493.  This includes $65,018 for substitutes, professional part-time, travel for staff development, dues and registration fees, and instructional materials; and $52,475 for a 0.8 teacher coordinator position, including employee benefits.  Adding an MYP for Grades 9 and 10 students at a high school where an IB Diploma Programme (DP) already exists would cost $71,856 in FY 2014. This includes $32,509 for substitutes, professional part-time, travel for staff development, dues and registration fees, and instructional materials; and $39,356 for a 0.6 teacher coordinator position, including employee benefits. 

The table below shows the high schools that currently have an IB DP without an MYP feeder and the annual cost of adding a Grades 6–10 MYP.  Three of our IB DPs are part of student-choice consortia––the Northeast Consortium (NEC) or the Downcounty Consortium (DCC). Students entering these high schools may feed from a number of middle schools.

 

High School

Middle Schools

Costs

1.

Seneca Valley High School

Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School

Roberto W. Clemente Middle School

Seneca Valley High School (Grades 9 and 10)

$117, 493—cost of adding one middle school
$234,986—cost of adding two middle schools
$306,842—cost of adding two middle schools and the MYP in Grades 9 and 10 in the high school

2.

Springbrook High School (NEC)

 

Benjamin Banneker Middle School

Briggs Chaney Middle School

William H. Farquhar Middle School

White Oak Middle School

 

$117, 493—cost of adding one middle school
$234,986—cost of adding two middle schools
$352,479—cost of adding three middle schools
$469,972—cost of adding four middle schools

3.

Rockville High School

Earl B. Wood Middle School

Rockville High School (Grades 9 and 10)

$117, 493—cost of adding one middle school
$189,349—cost of adding one middle school and the MYP in Grades 9 and 10 in the high school

4.

John F. Kennedy High School
and
Albert Einstein High School
(DCC)

There are seven other feeder middle schools in the DCC that do not have an MYP.

Mario Loiederman Middle School
Argyle Middle School
Eastern Middle School
E. Brooke Lee Middle School
Parkland Middle School
Sligo Middle School
Takoma Park Middle School

$143,712—cost of adding the MYP in Grades 9 and 10 at both IB high schools

 

$117, 493—cost of adding one middle school
$234,986—cost of adding two middle schools
$352,479—cost of adding three middle schools
$469,972—cost of adding four middle schools
$587,465—cost of adding five middle schools
$704,958—cost of adding six middle schools
$822,451—cost of adding seven middle schools

Total annual cost of adding MYP to
schools that feed existing IB DPs
(4 high school MYP and 14 middle school MYP)

$1,932,335

46. Provide information on where the dollars for professional development for Curriculum 2.0 are shown in the FY 2014 Operating Budget.

Budget page reference: 1-3

The Superintendent’s FY 2014 Recommended Operating Budget includes $1,006,537 for substitutes for professional development for Curriculum 2.0.  The funds are included in the professional substitutes line on the Elementary Schools budget resource page on page 1-9.

47. How will the additional 22.8 middle school Staff Development Teachers be used?

Budget page reference: 1-11

As a result of the initial reduction in the allocation of the secondary Staff Development Teacher (SDT) positions in the FY 2011 budget from 1.0 to 0.8 and the additional reduction in the FY 2012 budget from 0.8 to 0.4, secondary staff development teachers have struggled to effectively support both school-wide professional learning that focuses on facilitating teachers’ learning of new skills and opportunities for teachers to plan, practice skills, and engage in peer feedback or one-on-one coaching. 

Findings of both the Reduced Allocation Workgroup and the 2011-2012 Annual SDT Survey confirm that SDTs spent significantly less time in the 2011-2012 school year than in previous years supporting professional learning experiences that allowed teachers to apply learning to practice in the classroom. Increased turnover among SDTs (from 15 percent to 28 percent) coinciding with the reduced allocation, has further impacted the SDT’s ability to fulfill these responsibilities at the school level.  Restoring the position to a 1.0 will allow SDTs the time needed to both partner with the principal in supporting school-wide learning for staff and ensure that teacher teams, as well as individual teachers, have the supports needed to translate this learning into practice that ultimately leads to increased student achievement.    This additional time for middle school staff development teachers will include:

  • leading school-wide professional development,
  • supporting the work of cohorts of teachers in professional learning communities,
  • coaching staff to assure that professional learning leads to change in practice,
  • modeling effective instructional practices,
  • creating structures such as peer visits for professional development to take place.

This year, MCPS has focused on enhancing principals’ practice as leaders of learning who lead the work of professional learning communities to facilitate school improvement. This partnership between the principal as the leader of learning, and the school-based staff development teacher, is critical to providing teachers with school and context-based professional learning opportunities that will enhance teacher practice and lead to increased student achievement.  Increasing the allocation from .4 to 1.0 will allow more time for this work. 

48. How might we assess how effective counselors are in terms of working with students?

Budget page reference:N/A

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Standards for Students (ASCA 2005) speak to specific student competencies and indicators that align with the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Professional Growth System (PGS) and guide the school counselor in providing services to meet the developmental needs (i.e., academic, career, social/emotional) of all students.  The standards describe what students should be able to do so they can achieve their highest potential.  The ASCA model sums up accountability for counselors with one simple question, “How are students different as a result of what school counselors do?”

Counselors continually hold themselves accountable to the needs of their students as they conduct small group, grade-level team meetings; facilitate Collaborative Problem Solving team meetings; and provide classroom guidance lessons and professional development to MCPS staff members.  When counselors plan for ongoing work, they incorporate data-based, decision-making processes into their plans.  Counselors utilize the myMCPS database and MCPS Form 272-10, Documentation of Interventions, to compare students’ progress before and after an agreed upon intervention.  Overall school data and individual student data is used to inform practice that benefits schools and students.

MCPS’s PGS incorporates professional standards that give counselors a tool for self-evaluation of their performance.  School administrators may use the following standards to evaluate the effectiveness of the certified school counselor:

  • Plans, organizes, and delivers the school counseling program
  • Implements the school guidance curriculum through the use of effective instructional skills and careful planning of structured group sessions for all students
  • Implements the individual planning component by guiding individuals and groups of students and their parents/guardians through the development of educational and career plans
  • Provides responsive services through the effective use of individual and small-group counseling, consultation, and referral skills
  • Provides system support through effective school counseling program management and support for other educational programs
  • Discusses the counseling department management system and the program action plans with the school administrator
  • Collects and analyzes data to guide program direction and emphasis
  • Monitors the students on a regular basis as they progress in school
  • Uses time and calendars to implement an efficient program
  • Develops a results evaluation for the program
  • Takes on the role of student advocate, leader, collaborator and systems change agent.
 

49. --

Budget page reference: --

--

50. Provide a list of Maryland Meals for Achievement Program (MMAP) schools. Is there any additional funding in the Governor’s budget for the program? (Caplon/Tucci)

Budget page reference: N/A

The list of MCPS MMAP schools is attached. The governor has included $1.8 million in his budget to fund the expansion of the MMFA program, although it is unclear at this time how much MCPS will receive.

51. Respond to testimony on behalf of the Walt Whitman Cluster that states that Walt Whitman High School’s Learning for Independence (LFI) program is understaffed, and that their staff to student ratio is higher than the ratios at Walter Johnson and Rockville high schools. Provide information on ratios for all LFI programs.

Budget page reference: N/A

In MCPS, all Learning for Independence (LFI) programs are staffed at the same ratio at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.  The staffing ratio across all programs is 1.0 FTE teacher to 10 students.  For every 1.0 teacher position staffed, a 0.875 FTE paraeducator position is staffed.  This ratio serves as a guideline, as is the case with general education staffing ratios.

Currently, the enrollment and staffing for the Walt Whitman, Walter Johnson, and Rockville high schools LFI programs is as follows:

Walt Whitman High School: 2.0 teachers 23 students 1.750
Walter Johnson High School: 2.0 teachers 16 students 1.750
Rockville High School: 5.0 teachers 49 students 4.375

When teacher positions are allocated for the LFI program, they are allocated as 1.0 FTE positions because the classes are self-contained.  Walt Whitman’s LFI program enrollment would have to increase before a new class requiring a 1.0 FTE teacher position and a 0.875 FTE paraeducator position would be allocated.

As in all special education programs, enrollment in the LFI Program fluctuates thoughout the year.  The Office of Special Education and Student Services closely monitors each LFI program and responds to individual principal’s requests for additional staffing by first analyzing enrollment and the use of allocated resources.

52. Respond to the Walt Whitman Cluster testimony that states that special education case loads are very high in both resource and primary learning center classes at Burning Tree Elementary School, and that the school has had to reorganize its Learning Center teaching units to create combination classes in all grades. Are there staffing issues at other Elementary Learning Center programs?

Budget page reference: N/A

Elementary Learning Centers (ELC) receive staffing at a ratio of 1 teacher to 9 students and a .875 full time equivalent (FTE) paraeducator for a 1.0 teacher position to serve Kindergarten–Grade 5 students.  Elementary Learning Centers traditionally serve combination grade classes.  For example, an Elementary Learning Center may have a Kindergarten/Grade 1 class, a Grade 2/Grade 3 class, and a Grade 4/Grade 5 class.  Due to the growth in the Elementary Learning Center schools, the schools are staffed, on average, with four to five teachers with a 0.875 FTE paraeducator per class.  In FY 2012, MCPS began to provide each Elementary Learning Center with an additional .5 FTE teacher position to provide support for instruction in reading and/or mathematics.  Also, in FY 2013, MCPS allocated a .875 paraeducator positon to each Elementary Learning Center above the normal ratio to provide support as needed across classes.  

Currently, the Burning Tree Elementary Learning Center has a total enrollment of 39 students, served by five teachers and four paraeducators, and a 0.5 FTE Elementary Learning Center coordinator.  Classes are organized as follows:  Kindergarten/Grade 1, Grade 2/Grade 3, and Grade 4/Grade 5.  Both teachers and paraeducators support these classes.  The school has a more favorable ratio than the staffing guideline.

Regarding the resource teacher allocation for Burning Tree Elementary School, the school is staffed based on the total number of resource service hours for all students with disabilities identified to receive resource teacher support.  Currently, the school is staffed with 1.0 FTE resource teacher and 0.5 FTE paraeducator.

The Office of Special Education and Student Services monitors the enrollment of each Elementary Learning Center and responds to individual principal requests for additional staffing by first analyzing enrollment and the use of allocated resources.

The Department of Special Education Services meets four times per year with all principals and coordinators of Elementary Learning Centers to discuss effective instructional practices and staffing and instructional models. 

53. What do other school systems, including Fairfax County Public Schools, charge for school activity fees? How much would the fee need to increase to fund certified athletic trainers?

Budget page reference: N/A

The following are activity fees assessed in the seven Maryland school systems. Fairfax County Public Schools does not assess an activity fee.

Carroll County $100 per season 
Frederick County  $90 per season 
Montgomery County  $30 per year 
Prince George’s  $50 per year 
Queen Anne’s  $100 per year 
Washington County  $55 per season 
Wicomico  $40 per year  ($45 for football) 

MCPS currently collects activity fees from approximately 23,000 middle school and high school students per year.  If the system-wide cost for athletic trainers at all 25 high schools is $500,000, based on the Anne Arundel and Howard County model of contracting with a third party, the current annual activity fee would need to be increased by approximately $22 to cover the cost of athletic trainers at all 25 MCPS high schools. If the cost is based on the Fairfax County model, which is a full-time employee at each school, the total cost is about $1.5 million and the activity fee would need to be increased by $66 to cover the costs.

54. Respond to the testimony of Tom Hearn that states that MCPS is the only Maryland school system not using the concussion form recommended by the Maryland State Department of Education.

Budget page reference: N/A

The concussion form developed by MCPS preceded the form recommended by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).  The two forms are extremely similar, and both are derived from the same sources: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and National Federation of High Schools (NFHS)).  Though fundamentally similar, the MCPS form is more streamlined and includes procedures and protocol specific to MCPS.

MSDE has reconvened a comprehensive workgroup that has very recently generated a report to the Maryland State Board of Education on adjustments to current MSDE head injury forms, guidelines, and procedures.  The report has not been distributed to school systems yet.  The report includes adjustments to the current form that MSDE recommends.  MCPS will adjust its form according to the findings and recommendations of the MSDE workgroup

55. Provide information on budget cuts for athletics over the last several years.

Budget page reference: N/A

In FY 2012, there was a significant budget reduction to the athletics program totaling $750,000. 

Of the $750,000, reductions to high school athletic programs totaled $682,800 resulting in the elimination of stipends for cheerleading and developmental girl’s golf.  Stipends also were reduced for practice sessions, the junior varsity season, co-ed and boys’ volleyball, and for the high school postseason. Also, there was a reduction in the high school intramural director stipend.

Reductions to the middle school athletic programs totaled $67,200.  There was a reduction in stipends and equipment related to eliminating one game per sport.  Also, there was a reduction in the athletic coordinator stipend.

56. What programs and resources does MCPS have in place to address substance abuse? How is MCPS working with families, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other relevant agencies to coordinate programs and services for students?

Budget page reference: N/A

Montgomery County Publics Schools (MCPS) addresses substance abuse through our Kindergarten–Grade 12 Health Education Curriculum.  Curriculum 2.0 addresses substance abuse through the development of critical thinking and decision making in Kindergarten–Grade 5.  Substance abuse is addressed in Grades 6–8 through the middle school health curriculum.  In Grades 9–12, substance abuse is addressed in the required high school health course.

Phoenix at Needwood Academy, an MCPS alternative program, is a recovery support program committed to providing a safe and caring place for students to receive their education while they are in treatment for substance abuse.

Substance abuse resources are available in all schools through the counseling and administrative offices.  School health staff members, counselors, and administrators receive training to identify uncharacteristic behaviors in students. Teachers are encouraged to refer students to trained staff members if they believe a student is at risk. 

Families are made aware of resources specific to substance abuse via Parent Teacher Association meetings, parent/teacher conferences, and community forums.  Other resources available to parents are included in A Students Guide to Rights and Responsibilities handbook, and the High School Athletics Handbook. 

MCPS student services staff work in collaboration with our community agency partners to refer and assist students and families with substance abuse concerns.  Staff maintain open communication through our Collaborative Problem Solving process to assist and support students with instruction and social and emotional issues while accessing community resources available through our partnerships with community agencies, which include:

  • SASCA:  Screening and Assessment Services for Children and Adolescents
  • Mental Health Association
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Montgomery County Police Department
  • MCPS Department of School Safety and Security
  • County Commission on Children and Youth
 

57. Schools are implementing some programs such as B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S., and Barons Reaching Academic Goals (BRAG) that have been successful in improving the academic success of the students that participate. How is staff coordinating with schools that are implementing successful programs to ensure that best practices are shared with other schools?

Budget page reference: N/A

The School Cops software is a program which allows schools to track and record a variety of information in a database relating to school incidents, student behavior, victims, and suspects. The program also records specific details on the time and date of incidents. Furthermore, it has the capability of producing several types of reports for analysis, which may include line graphs, bar charts, and pie charts. Ten years ago, school districts were provided the software at no cost by the U.S. Department of Education.

Many schools in MCPS are using the School Cops software program but have reported that the software is outdated, difficult to use, and time consuming. Schools also have reported problems with purging old data and sorting the data by incidents.  The Department of School Safety and Security will research available user-friendly software that MCPS may want to consider using in the future.

58. Please explain the role of the central office teacher? How will this impact instructional capacity within Alternative Programs?

Budget page reference: N/A

The role of the central office teacher for Alternative Programs, under the direction of the supervisor, assists in the planning and implementation of comprehensive programming to meet the unique and intense needs of students who have been referred from comprehensive schools or placed through the disciplinary process. In this capacity, the central office teacher applies knowledge of research in the area of alternative programs to develop and assist in implementing a strong instructional program to engage students in learning. The teacher supports staff in the seven alternative programs in guiding students through the learning process to meet their academic and behavior goals. In this capacity, the central office teacher applies knowledge and research to design intervention plans to address academic, truancy, and behavioral needs. Through the collaborative problem solving process and team meetings, the central office teacher leads interdisciplinary teams to develop and monitor intervention plans. The teacher works closely with the supervisor to analyze data, including the development, implementation, and monitoring of the Program Improvement Plan (PIP). The central office teacher also serves as the school test coordinator (STC) and student service learning (SSL) coordinator for the middle and high school alternative programs. The teacher also manages the budget and financial monitoring, including grants that support the programs. Critical to alternative programs are the responsibilities within the professional growth system, which include designing and providing staff development and staff observation and supervision.

Changing 2.0 12-month instructional specialist positions to 10-month central office teacher positions will not impact the ability to provide consistent support to students in the seven programs throughout the school year and during the summer. To ensure that there will be no impact, professional part-time funds are available to provide additional support. This recommendation was reviewed by the Associations, Deputy Superintendent, and Chief Operating Officer (ADC) committee and the committee agrees that the change is appropriate.

59. Concerns have been raised about the time and materials needed to deliver Curriculum 2.0. How are we receiving and responding to concerns from teachers on Curriculum 2.0 training?

Budget page reference: 1-3 and 4-16

Teachers have several avenues to ask questions and raise issues with Curriculum 2.0 (C2.0) professional development. The Instruction Center, the interactive myMCPS location of C2.0, includes a discussion board, contact information, and feedback feature all teachers can use to raise questions on curriculum-related and professional development issues. Teachers also are encouraged to share their feedback and concerns with school-based staff development teachers, reading specialists, math content coaches or math representatives, assistant principals, and principals. In addition, the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs (OCIP) recently surveyed school leaders to determine major topics and needs for the spring and summer professional development. OCIP and the Office of School Support and Improvement (OSSI) regularly gather feedback from principals and teacher leader groups.  OCIP also meets on an ongoing basis with the teacher representatives on the Councils on Teaching and Learning (CTLs) to gather feedback on implementation, upcoming plans, and professional development.  

In 2011–2012, CTLs gathered questions and concerns through a teacher survey. Based on the survey, OCIP created and distributed to teachers a document that responded to each question/concern. In the fall of 2012, CTLs again collected questions and concerns from teachers and OCIP provided a written response that was distributed to the elementary CTL and elementary principals. Both teacher surveys have resulted in clarifications, modifications, and improvements.

Based on feedback from various sources, MCPS has expanded professional development substitute days, expanded access for grade-level teachers at Core Team trainings, and developed online professional development resources. The proposed FY 2014 budget will expand professional development to include face-to-face training in mathematics. Many concerns have centered on planning and use of time. OCIP responded by creating videos and developing resources to help school teams plan. Staff in Office of School Support and Improvement responded by coaching school leaders in developing a professional learning community culture that promotes effective collaborative planning. Central office staff is open to input and feedback and will continue to use a variety of venues and vehicles to engage in two-way communication as a strategy for continuous improvement.

60. The testimony regarding the Barons Reaching Academic Goals (BRAG) program stated that providing lunch would help to maximize participation and the time available for the program. Are there sources of funds that may be used to help pay for the student’s lunches?

Budget page reference: N/A

The Barons Reaching Academic Goals (BRAG) program at Bethesda-Chevy Chase (B-CC) High School serves 9th and 10th graders with grade point averages below 2.0 and/or students that have been identified as not achieving their fullest potential.  Teachers and other school staff, as well as trained adult volunteers from the community, serve as adult mentors. Each adult works with two BRAG students, meeting with them one-on-one regularly to provide guidance and support.  BRAG students also are invited to a weekly lunchtime tutoring session where each student is matched with a National Honor Society student.  The program is sponsored by the B-CC High School Educational Foundation.

Testimony presented to the Board of Education indicated that some students find it difficult to attend the lunchtime tutoring sessions because they need to eat lunch and it would be beneficial if lunch were provided for the students.  Currently, there are no grants or other sources of funding that are available to fund lunches for the students.  One option is to request funding through the B-CC Educational Foundation.  There would be no cost for students who are FARMs eligible.

61. If there are 35 students in an IB program is there a different formula that can be used to make smaller class choices?

Budget page reference: N/A

The question of how schools use their allocated staffing is broader than the International Baccalaureate (IB) programming.  However, it can be demonstrated with IB as an example.  Every high school is allocated staffing to create their schedule.  Based on enrollments for classes, schools determine how to use the allocated staffing resulting in average class sizes between 25 and 26 students.  The Board of Education class size guidelines are 29 for English classes and 33 for other core content courses.  MCPS strives to minimize the number of classes that do not meet the guidelines. 

One scheduling challenge principals have is that students do not always sign up for classes in groups of 29 or 33. Therefore, schools must decide how many sections of each course to offer.  As mentioned earlier, MCPS allocates staff for average class sizes between 25 and 26. This means that each time a school decides to run two small classes, elsewhere the class size will need to be larger.  However, often schools have 34 or 35 students who sign up for an AP course or an elective.  Or, a school might have 15 students sign up for a course.  In each case, schools must decide how to use the allocated resources to support that course.  Schools decide whether to run the small enrollment courses that will result in some larger classes elsewhere.  Schools also need to decide how to staff for the 34 or 35 students who want to enroll in another course should there be 2 sections of 17 or 1 section of 34.

There is no formula for these decisions.  Schools weigh numerous factors including the content of the course, the students taking the courses, and the teachers.  For one school with a new teacher and a emerging program, the principal may choose to run the classes smaller for a year.  However, in another school that has a teacher that is experienced with the content and students that the staff feel are well prepared, the school may run the course with a larger class.  For a course where more engagement is required, a school may run the courses with smaller classes, while for another course where students spend lots of time working in small groups a school may run the course with a larger classes.  All of this needs to be decided within the boundaries of the total staffing allocation.  Central office staff works closely with schools to support them with these decisions.  When enrollment numbers dictate that the schedule cannot be created without additional staffing, the schedule is reviewed and additional staffing is allocated. 

In the case of schools running an IB program, the situation is as outlined above.  Schools with an IB program have students who participate in the full program, as well as other students who may take IB courses but do not participate in the full program.  The IB diploma students (full program with required courses for students) and the IB certificate students (students who take courses but are not participating in the program) take courses together.  Based on the number of students that have signed up for each course, the school determines how many sections to offer.  It is important to note that the situation of how many sections to offer is not limited to the scenario of 34 or 35 students.  When 67 or 68 students sign up for a course, schools must make the same decision.  The only way to avoid oversized classes would be to decide that each time there is a large class the allocation should include an additional .2 teacher position.  When looking at the FY 2014 budget, this would mean allocating four hundred twenty-eight .2 teacher positions or 85.6 FTE teacher positions at a cost of $5,602,388, including employee benefits.  

62. On page 365 of the Program Budget, 40 Bus Route Supervisors and 23 Transportation Cluster Managers are listed. What are their specific duties, and if all are 12 month employees, what are their summer assignments?

Budget page reference: Program Budget, Pages 354 - 367

Bus route supervisor (BRS) and transportation cluster managers (TCM) positions are critical for the success of bus operations within the Department of Transportation. There are a total of 80 BRS positions and 23 TCM positions in the Operating Budget. These positions are spread over six budgets in the FY 2014 Program Budget document related to the Department of Transportation. Each TCM is assigned to at least one high school cluster. Duties include communicating with school personnel and parents about transportation issues, as well as the supervision of approximately 90 employees.

The BRS position duties include driving a bus route and supervising 25 employees. During the summer, transportation operations serve approximately 500 summer extended school year bus routes for special education, middle school, and Head Start students. BRS positions also spend time reviewing enrollment numbers and planning bus routes for the upcoming school year. Transportation services also are provided for summer camps and field trips run by recreation departments in Montgomery County, the City of Rockville, the City of Gaithersburg, and the City of Takoma Park.

63.On Page 380 of the Program Budget, I cannot determine how many cafeteria workers are less than 4 hours. How many fall into this category, and how many combine cafeteria with another MCPS assignment?

Budget page reference: Program Budget; Page 380

Within the Division of Food and Nutrition Services, there are currently 116 cafeteria workers who are scheduled to work less than four hours per day (less than a .5 FTE). Of these 116 cafeteria workers, there are 34 who have other MCPS assignments, primarily as building service workers or lunch-hour aides.

64.On page 154 of the Program Budget, 3 Consulting Principals and 33 Consulting Teachers are listed. What are their current caseloads?

Budget page reference: 10-34

There are two consulting principals who both have caseloads of 11.  Currently, one position is filled by acting consulting principal who has a caseload of 4. 

There are 29 consulting teachers (CTs).  The caseloads of the two lead CTs are less because they also support the CT team. The average caseload of the remaining 27 CTs is 21.3.  Four CT positions are added in the Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2014 budget.  The additional positions will reduce the current caseloads per-consulting teacher to 18.5 assuming that the program serves the same number of underperforming and novice teachers as FY 2013.   

65. On page 55 of the FY 2014 Program Budget, HS+ has a request of $1,289,000. Have we, or do we plan to evaluate this program?

Budget page reference: FY 2014 Program Budget, page 55

The Office of Shared Accountability (OSA) is beginning a study of the High School Plus (HS+) program implemented in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). HS+ is one of the programs offered by MCPS to provide additional ways of earning high school credits for students who have failed required courses related to the High School Assessments (HSA), failed courses required for graduation, and/or failed the HSA but may have passed the corresponding courses. The overall goals for the HS+ program relate to helping students meet requirements for graduation, including passing required courses. This study will examine: a) the nature and extent of benefits to high school students served by the extended-day component of the HS+ program, and b) the program’s effectiveness in meeting its goals.

The study will use a multi-method design to conduct both summative and formative evaluations. The formative component is designed to collect data on HS+ implementation and to encourage reflection by the various program stakeholders. The overall goal of the summative or outcome evaluation is to examine the extent to which the HS+ program has been successful in meeting its goals. The study will analyze student outcome data, as well as data collected from interviews and surveys with principals, teachers and students.

The study is to be concluded in late spring.

66. How is the Sharp Street Program funded?

Budget page reference: N/A

SHARP programs are community-school partnerships that support suspended students by assisting them with remedial academic needs. There are two SHARP programs in Montgomery County, B-SHARP and G-SHARP.  Both are funded by the Montgomery County Council.  The G-SHARP program also receives funding from the City of Gaithersburg.  For Fiscal Year 2013, the County Council approved $38,760 for a contract with Liberty Grove United Methodist Church (B-SHARP) and $38,760 for a contract with Youth Suspension Opportunities, Inc. (G-SHARP). The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) does not provide any funding to the SHARP programs.

SHARP programs are available only to middle and high school students from the schools that partner with the programs.  For example, B-SHARP, located at 15225 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville, Maryland, partners with Montgomery Blair, James Hubert Blake, Paint Branch, and Springbrook high schools and Benjamin Banneker, Briggs Chaney, and White Oak middle schools.  The G-SHARP program, located at 202 South Summit Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland, partners with Gaithersburg High School and Forest Oak and Gaithersburg middle schools.  G-SHARP also accepts students from other schools for a fee.

67. What is the cost of a teacher position for the LFI Program at Walt Whitman High School?

Budget page reference: N/A

Adding a 1.0 special education teacher position for the LFI Program at Walt Whitman High School, in addition to the 2.0 teachers and 1.75 paraeducators already budgeted/allocated for this program at the school, is $70,163, including employee benefits.  See the response to Question 51 for  additional information about the LFI Program and Walt Whitman High School.

68. How much would it cost to install stadium cameras?

Budget page reference: N/A

If funded, security cameras for stadiums would be funded through the Capital Budget under the School Security System. 

The Department of Facilities Management has piloted security cameras at Richard Montgomery High School’s stadium and has determined that security cameras are not effective in high school stadiums due to limited area of coverage and lack of visibility. While one can see a figure on the field, it is difficult to identify the person from the camera view perspective. 

The cost of security cameras for high school stadiums vary significantly depending on the distance of wiring to the building. As a result, the cost can range from approximately $3,500 to $10,000 per stadium.

69. How much is budgeted to develop and deliver communication activities to the public – Listen and Learns, Book Clubs, Vision and Core, Beliefs, Strategic Planning Forums.

Budget page reference:11-15

There are no separate budgeted items for the outreach events coordinated by the Office of Communications.  The planning and execution of the events falls within the normal workload of the office. There is some minimal additional overtime expenditure for staff.  For example, overtime totaled approximately $7,000 for MCPS Television staff during FY 2012.   

70. How are interpreters paid? Are they paid overtime?

Budget page reference: 4-65

English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) interpreters are paid temporary part-time salaries of $25 per hour. No overtime salaries are paid.  The Division of ESOL/Bilingual Services also hires interpreters on a contractual basis.

Questions and Answers Index

A Page
Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) Program 12
Activity Fees 53
Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program 11
Art, Music, Physical Education Ratios 30
Artificial Turf  27
Athletics - Prior Year Reductions 55
   
B  
   
Barons Reaching Academic Goals (BRAG) Program - Student Lunches 60
Bridge Program - Enrollment Projection 9
B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S. and BRAG Programs  - Sharing Successful Programs and Strategies 57
   
C  
Cafeteria Workers with Other Assignments 63
College Institute - Impact on Students from Loophole in Dream Act 3
Common Core State Standards - Assessments, Technology 25
Concussion Form 54
Consulting Principals and Teachers - Caseloads 64
Copier Machine at Shady Grove Middle School 10
Counselors - Assessing Effectiveness 48
Counselor Ratios 41
Curriculum 2.0 - Allocation of FY 2014 Increase for Stipends for Professional Development  33
Curriculum 2.0 - Dollars in the Budget for Professional Development 46
Curriculum 2.0 - Funds Available for Professional Development and Materials 8
Curriculum 2.0 - Responding to Concerns from Teachers  59
Curriculum 2.0 - UDL Strategies 24
D  
Division of Maintenance Workload 28
Down County Consortium Schools  - Staffing 37
   
E  
Elementary Math Teachers  34
Extracurricular Activities and After School Programs 19
   
F  
Full-Day Head Start Program 17
   
G  
Government High School Assessment - Budget Implications of Reinstatement 16
Guidance Counselors - Cost to Add Full-time Positions to All Elementary Schools 6
   
H  
High School Plus - Plans to Evaluate 65
Home and Hospital Teaching  - Increase in the Budget 14
Hours-based Staffing, Special Education  23
I  
IB Program - Formula for Smaller Classes 61
Instrumental Music Teachers 2,32
   
J  
K  
L  
Large High Schools - Managing Transcripts and College Applications Workload 49
Learning for Independence (LFI) Program at Walt Whitman High School 51,67
Leveled Reading Kits and Read 180 - Reductions and Program Efficiencies 20
Lunch-hour Aide Positions - Realignment to Part-time Salaries 31
   
M  
Maryland Meals for Achievement Program (MMAP) 50
Math Implementation Team 35,36
Maintenance Workload 28
Magruder Cluster Testimony - Copier Issues at Shady Grove Middle School 10
Mental Heath Issues - Training for Staff to Recognize  42
Middle Years Programme (IB) - Cost for Seneca Valley Cluster Middle Schools 1
Middle Years Programme (IB) - Schools Without MYP in Clusters with High School IB Programs 45
Middle School Special Education Institute (MSSEI) 22
Middle School Staff Development Teachers  47
Middle School IB Programs 45
   
N  
O  
Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships - Plans to Increase Capacity 26
Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs - Change in Positions for FY 2014 21
Outdoor Education Revenue Projection 13
P  
Professional Development for Curriculum 2.0 - Dollars in the Budget 46
Professional Development for Curriculum 2.0 - Allocation of FY 2014 Increase 33
Professional Development to Recognize Mental Health Issues 42
Psychologists - Standards for Budgeting/Allocating 5
Psychologists and Pupil Personnel Workers (PPWs) - Move to School Locations 4
   
Q  
R  
Reading Initiative Teachers 38
Registrar Positions and Secretarial Support - Allocations and Workload in Large High Schools 49
Revenue Projections - Outdoor Education and Student Activity Fees 13
Review of 12-Month Positions 44
   
S  
School Cops Software 58
Seneca Valley Cluster Middle Schools - Cost to Provide Middle Years Programme 1
Sharp Street Program - Funding 66
Small Elementary Schools Unable to Provide Two Classes Per Grade Level 7
Special Education Caseloads at Burning Tree Elementary School - Learning Centers and Resource 52
Special Education Hours-based Staffing 23
Special Education Staffing Plan - Staffing Plan Committee Recommendations 43
Staff Development Teachers for Middle Schools 47
Student Activity Fee - Revenue Projections 13
Student Instructional Program Planning and Implementation (SIPPI) 18
Student Scheduling Materials - Reduction in High School's Budget 39
Substance Abuse - Resources and Programs 56
Supervisor Position in the Office of Teaching, Learning, and Programs 40
   
T  
Textbooks, Instructional Materials, Media Materials - Actual and Budgeted Expenditures 29
Training to Recognize Mental Heath Issues 42
   
U  
UDL Strategies Implemented in Curriculum 2.0 24
   
V  
Vocational Support & Career Preparation Teachers - Realignment 15
   
W  
Walt Whitman High School LFI Program 51
   
X  
Y  
Z  

Montgomery County Public Schools

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