Howard County APFO 101

Howard County APFO ( adequate public facility ordinance) 101

The Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) provides a growth management process that will enable the County to provide adequate public roads, schools, and other facilities in a timely manner and achieve general plan growth objectives. This process is designed to direct growth to areas where adequate infrastructure exists or will exist.

HCPSS Commits to Incentive Pay for All Bus Drivers, Attendants and Contractors

HCPSS Commits to Incentive Pay for All Bus Drivers, Attendants and Contractors

HCPSS Commits to $5,000 Incentive Pay for All Bus Drivers and Attendants; Up to $4,000 Incentive Pay for Newly Hired Drivers; Up to $3,000 for Bus Contractors to Help Fill Inactive Routes

The Howard County Board of Education took action today to begin addressing the bus driver shortage that has impacted HCPSS since the beginning of the school year. The Board approved amendments to transportation contracts to provide a financial incentive for school bus drivers and attendants. This action would not have been possible without a $2 million commitment from County Executive Calvin Ball. The remaining costs will be covered with transportation savings in HCPSS’s budget. The additional funding will provide:

  • $5,000 in one-time incentives for all current bus drivers and attendants;
  • $1,500 signing bonus and up to a total of $2,500 in monthly incentive payments for all newly hired bus drivers and attendants;
  • $3,000 over three months to help bus contractors with driver shortages recruit and hire new staff to activate the remaining 95 routes; and
  • A 10% payment to bus contractors for each incentive bonus paid to bus drivers and attendants for overhead costs.

The school system wants to help bus drivers during this difficult time by getting these funds directly into their pockets. The initial $2,500 incentive bonuses for current bus drivers and attendants will be disbursed to all bus contractors within ten days of execution of the amended contracts and the remaining $2,500 will be paid monthly through the end of the school year.

The Howard County Public School System contracts its bus services to several local vendors, who will distribute the bonuses to their employees and will be required to provide verification to HCPSS that bus drivers and attendants received their payments timely.

While these short-term financial incentives are necessary to remain competitive as many other districts explore similar incentives, the long-term sustainability of transportation operations will require several strategies. HCPSS will work with bus contractors to examine the feasibility of increasing bus driver pay and benefits to support the recruitment and retention of high-quality bus drivers.

Since the start of the school year, HCPSS has experienced a shortage of approximately 95 bus drivers. The driver shortage has required many doubled bus routes, causing many students to arrive at school early or remain later at the end of the school day and resulting in significant challenges and inconvenience for drivers, families and school staff. Addressing the bus driver shortage requires a sustained effort and multiple action pathways. HCPSS has implemented a number of outreach initiatives, including recent hiring fairs, in order to attract new drivers and staff in other critical shortage areas, and will continue to work with bus contractors in an effort to reduce the number of driver shortages.

The Superintendent and Board of Education members thanked the County Executive for the county’s commitment of American Rescue Plan funding to help support this effort.

A new proposal for 2022 Maryland Congressional District

A new proposal for 2022 Maryland Congressional District

Jerry Gao, a junior at River Hill School, spent a few months working with me, came out with a new proposal for Maryland Congressional District. The main purpose is to get rid of gerrymandered districts like eagle or butterfly, especially MD Congressional District 2 or District 3 as following. Both of them are arbitrary, capricious and illegal at some sense.

Current US Congressional District 2

Current US Congressional District 3

Newly Proposed US Congressional Districts

  1. No more peculiar district shapes borders. Majority of counties will stay in one Congressional District.
  2. Less population deviation for each district from the average (6,398 vs. 48,059)
  3. Will stay in 7 democrats, one republican status.

Demographic Data ( 7 Democrats, 1 Republican, no change)

The whole presentation

2022 HoCo State Delegate Proposed Legislations

2020 HoCo State Delegate Proposed Legislation

2022 Proposed Local Legislation

Howard County Board of Education – School Safety Personnel (Delegate Atterbeary School Resource Officers Act of 2022), Ho. Co. 1-22

By: Delegate Atterbeary

FOR the purpose of requiring the Howard County Board of Education to develop a plan to implement certain school safety guidelines that replaces school resource officers in public schools in Howard County with adequate law enforcement coverage provided by school coverage officers, effectively addresses the need for certain personnel, and requires school coverage officers and school security employees to complete a certain model training program; defining the term “school coverage officer”; requiring the county board to solicit and incorporate input from stakeholders in the Howard County Public School System and school community; and generally relating to school safety personnel in Howard County.

Howard County – Due Process Proceedings for Children With Disabilities – Burden of Proof, Ho. Co. 2-22

By: Senator Hester

FOR the purpose of requiring the Howard County Board of Education to bear the burden of proof in due process proceedings that initiate from a due process complaint regarding the provision of special education services or a program for a child with disabilities in Howard County except under certain circumstances; and generally relating to the burden of proof in due process proceedings and the Howard County Board of Education.

Howard County — Sheriff — Salary, Ho. Co. 3-22

By: Chair, Howard County Delegation

FOR the purpose of altering the salary of the sheriff of Howard County; and generally relating to the salary of the sheriff of Howard County.

Howard County – Department of Housing and Community Development – Housing Opportunities Trust Fund, Ho. Co. 5-22

By: Delegate Feldmark and Senator Guzzone

FOR the purpose of establishing the Housing Opportunities Trust Fund as a non-reverting special fund to be used to promote equitable access to affordable housing for households of limited income in Howard County; requiring the Department of Housing and Community Development for Howard County to report on the activity of the Fund during the prior fiscal year on or before a certain date each year; and generally relating to funding for affordable housing in Howard County.

Circuit Court for Howard County – Judges Sitting as Orphans’ Court, Ho. Co. 06–22

By: Delegate Atterbeary

FOR the purpose of requiring the judges of the Circuit Court for Howard County to sit as the Orphans’ Court for Howard County; repealing a requirement that the qualified voters of Howard County elect three Orphans’ Court judges for the county; exempting Howard County from a provision of law authorizing a party to appeal a final judgment of an orphans’ court to the circuit court of the county; and generally relating to the Circuit Court and Orphans’ Court for Howard County.

Howard County – Commercial Building Excise Tax – Board of Education Deferred Maintenance, Ho. Co. 8-22

By: Delegate Atterbeary

FOR the purpose of authorizing the County Council of Howard County to impose an excise tax on commercial building construction; requiring the excise tax revenue to be used only for deferred maintenance needs identified by the Howard County Board of Education; and generally relating to a commercial building excise tax in Howard County and deferred maintenance in the Howard County Public School System.

Howard County – Public Schools – Alternative Instruction Model Policy, Ho. Co. 9-22 (Final Draft Pending)

By: Delegate Watson

FOR the purpose of providing that the use of an alternative instruction model constitutes a certain public school being open for pupil attendance for the purposes of meeting certain school day and hour requirements; authorizing the Howard County Board of Education to adopt a policy allowing a public school in the county to use an alternative instruction model under certain circumstances; and generally relating to an alternative instruction model policy in Howard County public schools.

Howard County – Property Tax – Credit for Seniors to Offset Property Tax Rate Increase, Ho. Co. 10-22

By: Senator Lam

FOR the purpose of authorizing the governing body of Howard County to grant, by law, a certain property tax credit against the county property tax imposed on a dwelling owned by an individual who meets certain age, income, and residency requirements; authorizing the governing body of Howard County to provide, by law, for certain matters relating to the credit; and generally relating to a property tax credit for senior citizen homeowners in Howard County.

Legislative Bond Initiatives

Accessible Trail Extension: $130,000

Bain 50+ Center: $350,000

Barnard Fort House: $150,000

Blandair Mansion: $500,000

Centennial Park West Area Playground: $200,000

Days End Horse Farm Rescue Firehouse Redevelopment: $500,000

Existing East Columbia 50+ Center: $250,000

Ellicott City Drop-Arm Barriers: $175,000

Ellicott City Jail Rehabilitation: $500,000

Grassroots Crisis Services: $500,000

Historic Ellicott City Downtown Wayfinding: $250,000

Howard County Last Mile Fiber and Public Wifi: $500,000

Howard County Veterans Monument: $650,000

Leola Dorsey Community Resource Center: $150,000

Maryland Innovation Center: $300,000

Patuxent Commons: $500,000

Rockburn Branch Park Playground: $150,000

Route 40 Pedestrian Bridge: $150,000

Safe Haven Equine Warriors, Inc Capital Campaign: $100,000

Waterloo Park Playground: $150,000

West Friendship Park: $400,000

HCPSS Seeks Members for Policy Advisory Committees

HCPSS Seeks Members for Policy Advisory Committees

Application Deadline: Friday, Nov. 12, 2021

Ellicott City, Maryland — The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) invites county residents to take an active role in developing and revising school system policies as members of policy advisory committees. The knowledge, experience and perspective shared by community stakeholders are used to improve the quality of HCPSS policy.

HCPSS is currently seeking candidates for membership on the following Policy Advisory Committees:

  • Policy 4050 Procurement of Goods and/or Services
  • Policy 6060 Community Improvement to School Sites or School Facilities

The committees will include at least one member representing the general resident stakeholder group. Members of this committee attend 3-4 meetings to discuss and make policy recommendations to the Superintendent. Meetings will be held virtually and are tentatively scheduled as follows:

  • Policy 4050: Dec. 9 and 20, 2021; Jan. 3 and 10, 2022 
  • Policy 6060: Dec. 9 and 15, 2021; Jan. 5 and 12, 2022

Committee members are expected to attend/participate in all committee meetings. 

Residents interested in participating may submit a statement of interestonline by Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. A confirmation email with additional details will be sent to the individual selected to participate on the committee.

Please contact HCPSS policy staff at with any questions. All current HCPSS policies can be viewed online.

My failed motion at MABE

During this year’s Maryland Association of Board of Education (MABE) annual meeting, because the ongoing hate and violent crime against AAPI community, I proposed a resolution to expand and enhance the public school curriculum to reflect the diverse community needs and include more contents for AAPIs, African Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, LGBTQ+, and persons with disabilities.

Unfortunately the motion failed. I will continue to advocate to have a more diverse and inclusive public school curriculum in the future.

The following is the text, drafted by me, revised by MABE staff and reviewed by the MABE resolution committee.

Proposed amendments to the Curriculum and Assessments resolution:

Insert on page 39 after the last WHEREAS clause:

WHEREAS, anti-Asian harassment and violence has a long history in the United States and more than 9,000 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate crimes were reported in 2020 and 2021 including the murder of six Asian American women in Atlanta on March 16, 2021; and

WHEREAS, the State Content Standards and Framework for Grade 6-8 Social Studies are designed so that each “student will understand the diversity and commonality, human interdependence, and global cooperation of the people of Maryland, the United States, and the World through a multicultural and a historic perspective”;

Insert on page 39 before the last BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED clause:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that MABE supports the exercise of local board authority to ensure that local curriculum and instruction reflect the diversity, commonality, and right to be free from harassment and violence of all persons, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), African Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, LGBTQ+ persons, and persons with disabilities; and


By 伍超





This poem is dedicated to a close friend who is in home hospice now. I cherish their family’s long term friendship and support for me. I could only wish life can be reversed.

HCPSS Student Yield Per House Unit Increasing

There have been discussions on the student yield per house unit, especially the resale yield and new development yield. Please see my other article: . I have strong opposition to use new development yield to plan for new housing development. There is no need to use two yield numbers as the Howard County Council used before. Just use a moving average number per school level is good enough to project student growth. I believe many families moving into Howard County for better education and we should try our best to provide that education support and maintain that quality.

Based on data collected, originally from Drew Roth, then augmented by Arthur Wang, I computed the student yield per house unit. Thank you, Drew and Arthur. I removed the enrollment data of 2020 and 2021 because of pandemic and only use the data between 2013-2019.

From Figure 1, we could see the trend is clear: HCPSS Student Number per House Unit is increasing over years. There are possible reasons (demographic shift) I can think of right now (a little over simplified):

  1. Newly developed homes have more students per house unit than old homes do.
  2. Senior residents without school age children moving out faster than families with children moved in.
  3. On average, families moving in have more children than families moving out.
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4

The data is attached below:

I would love to hear your feedback and refine my analysis.

Updated HCPSS FY 2023-2032 Long Range Master Capital Plan

Updated HCPSS FY 2023-2032 Long Range Master Capital Plan

We will have three capital projects finished in FY 2023(Talbott Springs ES, HS 13 (Jessup High School), Hammond HS renovation).

Then we will have Dunloggin MS, new ES 43, Oakland Mills MS and Oakland Mills HS, Centennial HS in the pipelines. After that, we will have ES44, HS 14, Patapsco MS and Jeffers Hill ES.

What we need to do now is to ask the County to fund these projects. For all the projects, we need the county to commit the funding, then the state matching funding will come it.

My APFO questions

On Monday, BOE and County Council had a conversation on the APFO. I raised a few questions:

  1. In the overarching objective, I did not see “meet residents’ needs” as a goal of APFO.
  2. The low impact fee or surcharge fee is a huge problem for the long deferred maintenance we are facing now. HCPSS is in a crisis of overcrowded and short of capital project funding. Schools we are building now will need significant renovation in 20 years, which is actually quicker than many people think. Our newest, Marriotts Ridge High School, many people still feel it is new, actually was built in 2005 and it is 16 years old already.
  3. In the traffic study section, I strongly opposed that traffic study was paid and presented by the developers themselves. The study should be impartial. The county should collect fees from developers and outsource that study to a third independent party. The same principles should apply to other studies too.
  4. There is a problem using the resale and new development yield number as presented for the county to project new housing student yield. The yield for new house development only consider the first year number and did not consider the accumulated impact.

Attached please see the latest APFO.

Please share your feedback with us. I am going to have some further discussions with county council members on this.

Speech at New Educator Orientation

Good morning.

I’m pleased to be among the first to welcome each of you to our school system. Though we are all wearing masks, that doesn’t change this message of welcoming.

As a new educator or an educator taking on a new opportunity, you’re at the start of a wonderful professional journey. You are sure to enjoy many fulfilling and exciting moments during your first year and in the years to come. At the same time, the first year of teaching is always challenging, and we know the pandemic brings some additional challenges.

Please know that the school system, your home school, and this community are here for you, and we will support you every step of the way. We all want to help you with a good start, and make sure you have the support and resources you’ll need to be successful.

You, our educators and staff, can only be at their best if you feel valued and effective in your roles. An excellent program of professional development has been prepared to support you, starting with this orientation and continuing throughout your career with our school system.

The road you have chosen is one of the most meaningful and rewarding life adventures that anyone can experience. I thank you for committing to the education profession and joining our school system, especially during this unprecedented time. After seeing what has happened and is happening in this country, I would say we need to rejuvenate the teaching of science and democracy. We should teach our students to be good people, and remind them of their responsibility in this world.

I belong to a family of teachers. My older brother, sister-in-law, and my three little brothers and sisters are all teachers. Their dedication and support for their students always inspire me. In reflection of my own teachers and professors, I credit my success today to them, because they trusted me to be capable of achieving something. That trust broke the barrier of poverty and instability and propelled me forward.

I am also looking forward to our own community, our parents, our students, and community leaders showing their support for you. Each of them has an important role to play.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to society and culture support for your work. The education of the younger generation lays the foundation for this country’s future.

On behalf of the Board of Education, congratulations, and welcome once again to the Howard County Public School System.

Update on HCPSS Double Busing Evaluation

Update on HCPSS Double Busing Evaluation

I know many parents and students are impacted by the double busing issue which was due to severe driver shortage. My daughter’s afternoon bus schedule is impacted by an hour too. We have been asking the school system to keep examining this. Here is the latest update:

We will keep the current implementation in place. We will continue to examine the situation and make adjustments. Both the data and justification are attached in the following letter.

After evaluating the opportunities and considerations it is our recommendation to keep the existing structure of the double busing in place. We could revisit this for the spring semester as certain variables may change over the coming months. The two main variables would be known or committed ridership and an increase in drivers. As new drivers are placed into operation, we are trying to eliminate the most impacted routes, which could result in different outcomes in the data. 

If you have any questions, please contact Scott W. Washington, Chief Operating Officer at, or Brian Nevin, Director of Student Transportation at 

Fall 2021 USNA Admissions Candidate Visits

2021 United States Naval Academy Admission Candidate Visit

Senator Van Hollen’s office is excited to share the information below regarding admissions candidate visits to the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA).  We encourage you to share this invitation with students and others who may be interested in attending.  Please note that these visits are intended for current high school seniors and others applying for admission to USNA this year.

If you have any questions, please contact USNA Admissions at (410) 293-1858 or online at

Senator Van Hollen is very responsive to constitutes. I had the honor to meet him a few times in the past.

2021 Update on Cafeteria Protocols and Self Check Reminders

These are latest update for the school opening on August 30,2021.

Last week, a message was sent detailing several updates related to the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Below is additional information authorized by the superintendent related specifically to cafeteria protocols and the self check process that every family will be expected to perform daily before sending their child to school.

Cafeteria Updates

There are several updates related to cafeteria protocols to further reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19. All schools will have outdoor eating spaces available on campus for student use as weather and staffing permits to lessen the number of students in the cafeteria. In an effort to maintain a healthy environment in cafeterias, the following actions are being implemented: 

  • Additional tables have been ordered and will be distributed to schools to help ensure outside eating areas are furnished as well as to allow maximum spacing indoors. 

  • Based on the availability of products from vendors, large tents that are compliant with local code will be provided to elementary schools to increase outdoor dining spaces. We anticipate a number of tents will be in place to begin the school year with additional tents being provided in September.

  • Plexiglass shields for indoor cafeteria tables are being secured for grades k-6 where students are largely unable to be vaccinated. These panels will provide additional protection between students who are unable to be vaccinated while eating when masks cannot be worn.

COVID-19 Self-Screening Symptoms Self Check

Parents/guardians should keep their children home if they are experiencing symptom(s) associated with any communicable disease, including COVID-19. In addition, parents/guardians are to perform the following COVID-19 health check every day before the student leaves home.

A child should NOT come to school with any of these symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.4 degrees or higher

  • Sore throat

  • Cough

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Diarrhea or vomiting

  • New onset of severe headache (especially with fever), or

  • New loss of taste or smell

For persons with chronic conditions such as asthma, the symptoms should represent a change from baseline.

Children exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 may not attend school. 

Please visit the HCPSS website for additional information on self screening, contact tracing and quarantining procedures. Additionally, visit the HCPSS website for more information on the 2021-2022 school year and answers to frequently asked questions.