Board of Education Discusses Recovery of Education; Elects Officers; Approves Pilot Courses; Receives Presentation on Superintendent’s Operating Budget Framework; Update on Districtwide Boundary Analysis; and Approved a Resolution Regarding the Installation of Menstrual Product Dispensers in Secondary Schools

December 9, 2020

The Montgomery County Board of Education (Board) conducted a virtual business meeting on Thursday, December 3, 2020.  During the meeting, the Board received an update on Montgomery County Public Schools’ Return to School Framework; elected Board officers and appointed committee members; received a presentation on the superintendent’s Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget framework; and received an update on the districtwide boundary analysis.  The Board also approved pilot courses, took tentative action on a new Board policy, and approved a resolution regarding the installation of menstrual product dispensers in secondary schools.  The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website.

Watch the recording of the December 3, 2020, meeting.

Election of Board Officers

The Board elected Brenda Wolff as the Board president and elected Karla Silvestre as the Board vice president.

The following Board members now serve on the Fiscal Management Committee: Lynne Harris (chairperson), Judith Docca, and Patricia O’Neill. Read the adopted resolution.

The following Board members now serve on the Policy Management Committee: Patricia O’Neill (chairperson), Judith Docca, Rebecca Smondrowski, and Nicholas Asante. Read the adopted resolution.

The following Board members now serve on the Committee on Special Populations: Rebecca Smondrowski (chairperson), Judith Docca, and Karla Silvestre. Read the adopted resolution

The following Board members now serve on the Strategic Planning Committee: Karla Silvestre (chairperson), Shebra Evans, and Lynne Harris. Read the adopted resolution.

The following Board members now serve on the Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Committee: Shebra Evans (chairperson), Karla Silvestre, Rebecca Smondrowski, and Nicholas Asante. Read the adopted resolution.  

Return to School Framework

The Board received an update and voted to delay their final action on the Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) framework for the return of students to in-person learning beginning January 2021 to its special meeting on December 15, 2020. On November 10, 2020, the Board tentatively approved the framework that outlines the district’s plan to bring some students back for in-person instruction beginning January, 12, 2021, if health metrics are met. MCPS has proposed that the initial return focus on students in specific special education and Career Technology Education (CTE) programs. Larger groups of students will begin phasing in on February 1, 2021. The Board asked MCPS to reevaluate its metrics for reopening, as well as the proposed sequence for students to return. They Board also asked MCPS leaders to explore a strategy that prioritizes the return of the youngest learners sooner.

Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Budget Framework

The Board received a presentation from Superintendent Jack R. Smith on the framework for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Operating Budget. The FY 2022 Recommended Operating Budget that Dr. Smith will share with the Board and the community on Thursday, December 17, 2020, will be $35.0 to $40.0 million more than the minimum level of funding required by the MOE law. As MCPS can expect to receive less funding from the state in FY 2022, compared to FY 2021, this funding level will shield the district from any eventual loss in state funding. In addition, the recommended operating budget will maintain the current workforce; however, MCPS will look to reduce unfilled positions wherever possible. In this FY 2022 Operating Budget, the district considered the budget priorities that the Board of Education shared at its October 19, 2020, work session, as well as the priorities that the Budget Advisory Committee presented during its meetings in fall 2020. The FY 2022 Operating Budget is crafted to maintain a coherent and effective school system, building on the advances MCPS has made in closing persistent achievement gaps and ensuring that all students leave MCPS college- and career-ready. The FY 2022 Operating Budget will provide funds for additional mental health supports for students, including those most impacted by virtual learning. MCPS also will implement community school pilots providing effective instructional practices and culturally relevant curriculum along with community engagement. MCPS will provide supports to struggling learners impacted by the virtual learning. These and additional details will be shared in my December 17, 2020, video presentation, which will be posted on the MCPS website.

Read the memorandum to the Board

View the PowerPoint presentation

Approval of Pilot Courses

In accordance with Board Policy IFA, Curriculum, and the accompanying MCPS Regulation, IFA-RA, Curriculum, the Board reviewed proposed pilot courses and the active and restricted pilot courses that successfully have completed the pilot process. These courses are developed by local schools, central services staff members, or external organizations, and have met all of the requirements of the established procedures. The courses also support and extend high school signature, academy, career and technology, and elective programs.

After a review and discussion, the Board approved the proposed courses.

Read the memorandum, which includes the full list of the approved courses.

Districtwide Boundary Analysis Update

The Board received an update on the districtwide boundary analysis and next steps in the process. The goal of the districtwide boundary analysis is to help MCPS better understand the impact existing boundaries have on school overcrowding, student diversity and proximity to school. During the presentation, the external consultants for the analysis, along with MCPS staff, reiterated the scope and purpose of the analysis; provided an update on community engagement thus far for both phases 1 and 2; discussed the Interactive Boundary Explorer Tool; and shared feedback from the community.  The district will receive a final report from the external consultants in spring 2021.

You can learn more about the analysis at this webpage.

View the PowerPoint Presentation

Tentative Action on New Board Policy JPH, School Food and Nutrition Services Program

The Board voted to take tentative action on Policy JPH, School Food and Nutrition Services Program. In the July 29, 2019, Board of Education new business resolution, it was requested that the Board’s Policy Management Committee review the need for a policy that addresses the school system’s role in combating childhood hunger, benchmark with local and similarly situated school districts, and consider bringing forward a recommendation to the Board during the 2019−2020 school year. The Board adopted the referenced resolution during its August 29, 2019, business meeting (Resolution No. 468-19). The Committee was scheduled to meet on March 16, 2020, to review recommendations; however, the meeting was not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee met on October 22, 2020, and reviewed new Draft Board Policy JPH, School Food and Nutrition Services Programs. At that time, the Committee also reviewed benchmarking results and internal data on the myriad programs and initiatives through which MCPS ensures student access to healthy meals. The Committee proposes new Draft Board Policy JPH, School Food and Nutrition Services Programs (Attachment B), to set forth guidance regarding school food and nutrition services programs. The draft policy will be sent out for public comment.

Read the memorandum to the Board

Calendar of Major Events for the Election of the Student Member of the Board

The Board approved the calendar of major events for the election of the 44th student member of the Board.

Read the memorandum

Facilities and Construction

The Board approved the preliminary plans report for the Neelsville Middle School major capital project developed by Perkins Eastman Architects, D.P.C.


The Board approved the resolution recognizing December 7–11, 2020, as National Inclusive Schools Week.

New Business

The Board of Education approved a resolution regarding the installation of menstrual product dispensers in secondary schools.  The Board directed the superintendent of schools to develop a five-year plan to install menstrual product dispensers in all middle and high school bathrooms starting with a pilot program to begin in at least two MCPS middle schools.  The Board also directed the superintendent of schools to report on the feasibility, cost, and timeline of this installation plan and pilot program to the Board of Education no later than February 2021. 

Read the adopted resolution

Future Meetings

The Board of Education is scheduled to hold a special business meeting on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.  The virtual format of this meeting will continue, given the current COVID-19 crisis.  The agenda is subject to change. Please check the Board of Education website and meeting calendar for further information. 

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

Montgomery County Board of Education: Mrs. Brenda Wolff, president; Ms. Karla Silvestre, vice president.  Members: Dr. Judith Docca, Mrs. Shebra L. Evans, Ms. Lynne Harris, Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, and Mr. Nicholas Asante, student member. Dr. Jack R. Smith, superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 240-740-3030. 







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