Latest APFO chart from HCPSS

The Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) School Capacity charts are utilized as part of the growth management process of Howard County for new residential developments. The test year for the 2021 APFO
School Capacity Charts is SY 2024-25. For SY 2024-25, there are 22 elementary, six middle, and five high
schools listed as constrained. Additionally, there are two elementary school regions listed as constrained,
which constrains two additional schools, bringing the total to 24 elementary schools. (see Attachment 2).

Some math about HCPSS funding needs and gaps

Some math about HCPSS funding needs and gaps

I wrote something on this topic before. Here I am doing some simple math again with a relative simple model. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Revised according to some suggestions.

Funding needs because of student enrollment growth

  1. We have been seeing an average of 1000 new students per year for HCPSS in the past 10 years. Assuming 10% of the growth are students with special needs.
  2. The increased cost is : 900*10,000 per student for general education from county funding +100*30000 per student for special education from county funding =12 million dollars
  3. Another calculation using average (16k per student ) 16k * 1000=16 million dollars. County funds 2/3 of those, which is equivalent 10.6 million dollars.
  4. So in general, we need more than 10 million extra dollars each year to accommodate our student’s growth in order not to increase class size or cut service.

Does housing development pay the cost?

  1. Assuming a house has two students over 30 years staying at HCPSS, ignoring inflation.
  2. The property tax for a 400k house is 4k*30=120 K dollars in total.
  3. The cost for 2 new students for HCPSS: 50k ( per student per seat in capital budget) *2 + 10000*13 (years)*2 = 360 K dollars
  4. The gap of funding is 240 K per house.
  5. If the house keeps generating students continuously ( the family moves in only when students attending HCPSS, assuming 20 years for two students ) , the tax will be 4k*20=80k. The gap will be 280k. Every forty year, the funding gap will be 560K, more than half million dollars.
  6. There are also many other costs (infrastructure, county government etc) beyond school system.

Control the city(Columbia)

“Control the city”, “Ownership and monopoly-like control over small cities” are those phrases really catching my eyes when I read the Howard Hughes Corporation’s Q4 2020 presentation.

The opportunity to control cities and monopoly-like control

Columbia

By the way, in the slides where it talks about Ward Village, Honolulu, they are building really expensive houses, for example, 36 million dollars houses.

The presentation is attached here:

HCPSS is hiring bus drivers

HCPSS is hiring bus drivers

Interested in becoming a bus driver?

Applicants must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have a clean driving record
  • Have a clean criminal background
  • Be willing to work 180 days a year, and be off during the summer months (however, possible summer work is available)

View a list of current bus contractors and call their office for an application.

To be a certified school bus driver, you are required to:

  • Possess a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) with a “P” and “S” (passenger and school bus) endorsement. The HCPSS provides the behind-the-wheel instruction to acquire this license and the necessary endorsements.
  • Pass a physical and drug screening examination.
  • Provide a driving record that shows two or less current points. The driver will be able to acquire this from the MVA.
  • Submit to a criminal background check that results in no disqualifying convictions or outstanding criminal charges.
  • Complete an 18-hour pre-service training program for certification in Howard County provided by the HCPSS Pupil Transportation Office.
  • Wages and number of hours worked vary from contractor to contractor.

For questions regarding an application, please contact the Pupil Transportation Office at 410-313-6732 or view the current bus contractor list for direct phone numbers.

Think twice about passing that school bus. In Howard County, it could cost  you $250. - Baltimore Sun

Discussion at the Howard County Council meeting with SAAC committee

Discussion at the Howard County Council meeting with SAAC committee

I put up the speech last night and did not do much grammar check.

Chair Walsh, thanks for inviting me to this meeting. This is Dr. Chao Wu, chair of Howard County Board of Education. I am not speaking on behalf of the board, even though probably every board member agrees with me.  I appreciate the county council for giving me the opportunity.

Since the release of the Spending Affordability Advisory Committee (SAAC) report, it has been a month and half. Our county executive already released his 2022 capital budget.

I would like to talk about the SAAC report and the ongoing challenges the school system is facing. I am also proposing two possible solutions. 

First, let’s talk about 2022 school system capital projects. There is an urgent funding need for school maintenance and three new construction projects (Talbott Springs ES, Hammond High and HS 13). Under the county executive 2022 capital budget, the gap is as high as 30 million dollars for the school system.

  1. The Board and HCPSS staff have continuously noted during public discussions with the County Council and State Delegation regarding the costs of these three construction projects. These projects moved forward with construction in 2021 because of the joint commitment to maintain this funding. 
  2. However, with  the current capital funding level from the county’s 2022 capital budget, we have to defer many maintenance projects again. Some projects have been deferred for more than 10 years, even 20 years. That is one reason why the school system is having a 800 million dollars maintenance list since we keep deferring them. Here are some examples:
    1. ARL Heating ventilation and Air Conditioning renovation, last replaced 1968. Older than many people here. The cost is 25 million dollars.
    2. Centennial High School Renovation, Addition and HVAC replacement, last replaced 1997. Cost 90 million dollars.
    3. Dunloggin Middle School, Renovation, Addition and HVAC replacement, last replaced in 1994,  cost 41 million dollars.
    4. Elkridge Landing Middle School, HVAC replacement, last replaced 1995. Cost 10 million dollars
    5. Forest Ridge Elementary School, Heating ventilation and air conditioning system replacement, last replaced 1992, cost 42 million dollars
    6. Fulton Elementary School, HVAC and Roof replacement, last replaced 1997, cost 18 million dollars
    7. Hammond Middle School, Renovation and HVAC replacement, 41 million dollars
    8. Harpers Choice Middle school, renovation and HVAC replacement, 17 million dollars,
    9. Jefferson Hills ES, Boiler replacement, last replaced 1974, cost 0.5 million dollars; HVAC replacement, last replaced 1998, cost 51 million dollars
    10. Long Reach High School, HVAC replacement, 38 million dollars
    11. Manor Woods Elementary School, HVAC replacement, last replaced 1994, cost 10 million dollars
    12. Mayfield Woods MS renovation, 41 million dollars
    13. Oakland Mills High School, renovation,  last renovated 1973, cost 110 million 
    14. Oakland Mills Middle School renovation, 51 million dollars
    15. Old Cedar Lane, replacement of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, last replaced 1982, cost 10 million dollars
    16. Patapsco Middle School, Renovation and HVAC replacement, last replaced 1996, cost 51 million dollars
    17. Pointers Run Elementary School, renovation, 20 million dollars
    18. St Johns Lane Elementary School, HVAC replacement, , 16 million dollars
    19. Wilde Lake High School, HVAC and boilers replacement.  Cost 5.5 million dollars.
  3. New school construction is needed for our country’s rapid development and continuous student enrollment increase. 
  4. Maintenance funding is needed to provide a safe and pleasant working and learning environment. 
  5. Missing either new school funding or the maintenance funding will lead us to a more dire situation since we don’t see any relief coming soon:  future county revenue projection is slowing down and the student enrollment keeps increasing due to fast housing development across the whole county. 

Second, let’s talk about the operating budget. We are looking forward that a hold-harmless number (maintaining FY21 funding level) should be maintained. We did see the enrollment dip because of the pandemic. However, we should expect the student will come back in the fall when we expect HCPSS will have full five-day in-classroom instruction. We should have this confidence that HCPSS will continue to provide quality education to attract parents and students to come to our school. 

Third, over the last three budget cycles, HCPSS has realigned and reduced spending considerably by eliminating positions, increasing class sizes and cutting programs to balance our budget. We can only do so much with limited funding. 

Finally, I strongly believe and propose a solution:  our county’s capital project funding ,operating budget funding and our county’s planning and zoning (by the way, I mean HoCo by Design or the general plan) should always put HCPSS in the center of every decision. 

Proposal for MOE formula for deferred maintenance

 I also propose that we create an MOE (maintenance of effort) for deferred maintenance too, which will hold our county executive and county council accountable for our school system’s maintenance funding.  Once a current aging HVAC system fails catastrophically and no replacement parts will be available due to the old aging system, we have no wiggle room to defer them any longer. The longer we kick the can further away, the higher cost it needs in the future. Keeping deferring them is to cheat ourselves and jeopardize our short term and long term financial health. Past decisions not funding them sufficiently and aggregating to such a large number should be a waking call for us all.

More than 90% of our county’s tax comes from personal income tax and property tax. We should value our parents’ trust in our education system. So all stakeholders, including the county executive, county council and the school board should work hard, both on the funding side and planning side to maintain HCPSS’s reputation. 

Thank you.

HoCo County Council Bill CB 24-2021

HoCo County Council Bill CB 24-2021

CB24-2021 has two amendment areas.

  1. The first addresses the addition of a public ethics report to be made by applicants for development regarding campaign contributions/business with County Council members and/or the County Executive.
  2. The second would prohibit action on proposed zoning regulation amendments during a period leading up to the adoption of a new Howard County General Plan (specifically, nine years after the implementation of the current plan up until the new plan is adopted – this plan is currently on a 10-year cycle, thus this would apply one year before adoption).

While staff cannot estimate a direct impact on HCPSS without knowing what proposed regulations may be delayed by the bill, generally they would agree with the notion that if changes to the General Plan are imminent within the next year, passing new zoning regulations may be counterintuitive to the purpose of the plan itself to provide guidance.

The video is here:

Board Member Report 2021-3-25

Board Member Report 2021-3-25

While we are gradually returning to normal, I urge our parents, students and staff to contact schools if you have any questions. The school will strive to find solutions to challenges faced by families, which may have been overlooked.  

Please note that for the school board itself and individual board members, we could not comment publicly on personnel matters, teacher contract, etc. The school will try our best to accommodate the individual needs for every student and staff, but we have to function as a healthy, financially feasible organization for the sake of the whole community.

I want to talk about the recent Atlanta massacre which killed eight Americans, six of them are Asian Americans. The board and the superintendent sent out a statement to parents and we want to make sure our Asian American community feels safe and protected. There is an ongoing crisis where violence, physical attack and hate towards Asian American in this country. It has been in existence for a long time. The Atlanta shooting has brought this crisis upfront. Yesterday, several board members, myself and Dr. Martirano attended a rally at Downtown Columbia to support AAPI community. It’s heartwarming to see the support from the community.

At the same time, I feel very sad when the Atlanta Police Spokesman Jay Baker said the killer just had a bad day. That remark literally says that eight lives are nothing. I truly wish the government, the media and the general public can look directly at the struggles and challenges Asian Americans are facing. One key problem is that Asian Americans are not treated as Americans.

We need to support each other to move our society forward. Only when we support each other fighting against discrimination and racism, respect each other, value everyone’s effort of pursuing their dreams, are we a full American country.

We may have different approaches to address these problems. However, we should be able to stand up for those who are suffering discrimination and racism, lift their voice, listen to their concerns and support them. We should take care of our community, elders, weak, ill, handicaped, children, women and everyone in need. 

Asian Americans will not go away.  Our struggles are the struggles of Americans. We should always stay united and find solutions to address this issue.

Thank you.

HCPSS Seeks Members for Secondary Language Arts Criteria and Instructional Materials Review Committee

HCPSS Seeks Members for Secondary Language Arts Criteria and Instructional Materials Review Committee

March 23, 2021

Applications Due April 9, 2021

Ellicott City, Maryland — Howard County Public School System is currently seeking candidates among Howard County teachers, community members, and HCPSS students in grades 8-11 to serve on the Secondary Language Arts Criteria and Instructional Materials Review Committee. 

Committee members review the selection criteria for instructional materials and recommend revisions, as needed; review any materials requested for reevaluation; and advise, support, and advocate for the continuous improvement of the HCPSS Secondary Language Arts program.

Membership is for two academic years, continuing through June 2023. All meetings will be held virtually for the remainder of the current school year, and copies of texts for review will be provided. 

Interested participants are invited to submit an application online. The deadline for submitting an application is Friday, April 9, 2021. All applicants will be notified about the status of their application by April 16, 2021

For more information, contact Nancy Czarnecki, Coordinator of Secondary Language Arts, at ncarnecki@hcpss.org.


HCPSS Digital Education Center Virtual Information Sessions, March 31, 2021

HCPSS Digital Education Center Virtual Information Sessions, March 31, 2021

March 18th, 2021

My note:

  1. The full digital learning center is depending on FY 2022 funding which will be determined by the county executive and the county council in April and May 2021 separately.
  2. This information session helps the school system to gauge student interest and set up the center accordingly.
  3. The student enrolled into this digital learning center still belong to a home school.
  4. The teacher in this digital learning center will not teach concurrently. They may work from home or dedicated school space.
  5. Here is the budget proposal for this center https://chaowu.org/2021/02/16/hcpss-proposed-digital-learning-center/

The Howard County Public School System is considering a virtual school option for students in grades K-12 who wish to remain virtual for the 2021-2022 (upcoming) school year. Once finalized, the Digital Education Center program will give students the option to access synchronous (real-time) instruction and digital assignments while receiving support services from the student’s districted home school. 

The HCPSS Digital Education Center (DEC) is currently in the planning and design phase. The DEC would allow students to take all classes and earn credits virtually while maintaining a relationship with their assigned home school. The final DEC scope and options are subject to funding, staffing and final Board of Education approval. 

HCPSS students and families interested in learning about the DEC option can register to attend a virtual information session Wednesday, March 31 at 1 or 7 p.m. Register using the links below to receive login information for the applicable session.

Please select one of the links below to register for a session:

Information presented during the session will be made available online following each session for those who are unable to attend. Answers to frequently asked questions and additional information on the DEC are forthcoming. 

Please note that decisions on the 2021-2022 academic year, in terms of students returning in person, hybrid or virtually have not yet been determined, and will be communicated as soon as possible.

HCPSS Response to Recent Violence and Incidents of Anti-Asian Hatred

HCPSS Response to Recent Violence and Incidents of Anti-Asian Hatred

March 18th, 2021

The following statement was issued by the Howard County Board of Education and HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano on March 18, 2021:

We are deeply saddened by the tragic shooting in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 16. Eight people were killed, including six Asian Americans. This tragedy is particularly painful to members of our Asian community in Howard County, and many Asian students are understandably fearful. One month ago on the Lunar New Year holiday, six local restaurants, including four owned by Asians, were burglarized and vandalized. Two weeks ago, a hateful and racist speech against Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and immigrants was delivered during the Howard County Racial Equity Task Force Public Hearing held on March 4th. 

Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents. We are witnessing in horror the recent increase in incidents of violence, attacks, hatred and discrimination against Asian Americans. Recent reports indicate there have been thousands of incidents targeting Asian Americans across the nation. The Howard County Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano unequivocally condemn all anti-Asian violence, crimes and incidents. 

HCPSS is committed to providing a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone in our community. We are enormously proud of our diverse and inspiring Asian American students and families. We are also very appreciative of the Asian American community’s contributions to HCPSS and Howard County. We reaffirm that Asian students are an integral part of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Howard County and our nation. HCPSS staff are committed to offering full support at this time of great stress for our Asian American students and families.

First and foremost, it is critical that we tend to the well-being of our students who require support. HCPSS will not tolerate bullying in any form; we ask that any child who feels victimized to reach out to a trusted adult. Students, staff and family members can easily and confidentially report incidents of bullying on the HCPSS Stop Bullying website. Counselors and staff in all of our schools are prepared to support any students who need someone to talk to. Additional resources are provided below that may be helpful for parents and educators as you discuss these recent events with your children. 

We encourage everyone to stand in solidarity with our Asian American community. We urge the leaders of our country, as well as our county, to work harder to stop the hatred and take concrete actions to protect vulnerable minorities, including Asian Americans. As Martin Luther King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” An inclusive, just, and compassionate Howard County starts with treating all citizens and community members with kindness, respect and trust.

Resources
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides the following information for parents and educators to talk with children about violence:

Additional reminders from NASP include:

  • Reassure children that they are safe
  • Make time to talk
  • Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate
  • Review safety procedures
  • Observe children’s emotional state
  • Limit television (and social media) viewing of these events
  • Maintain a normal routine

HCPSS Resources
The Mental Health and Wellness webpage provides guidelines, tips and sources of help.

HCPSS Class of 2020 Graduation Rate Continues to Rise

HCPSS Class of 2020 Graduation Rate Continues to Rise

The percentage of HCPSS students who receive high school diplomas continues to rise and to outpace statewide results, according to data recently released by the Maryland State Department of Education.

At 93.4%, the graduation rate for the HCPSS Class of 2020 exceeded the Maryland average of 86.8%, and is up from 92.8% for 2019 and from 92.0% in 2018. Howard County’s rate remains the highest among the six Maryland school systems having enrollment of more than 50,000 students. The statistics reflect data for the cohort of students graduating within four years after entering high school.

HCPSS dropout patterns echo the graduation rate trends. At 3.6%, the dropout rate for the Class of 2020 shows a significant improvement compared to 4.5% in 2019 and 4.8% in 2018. The HCPSS dropout rate is well below the state average of 8.3% and compares favorably to other large Maryland school systems. 

While graduation rate gaps persist among student demographic groups, several groups showed notable improvement compared to the prior year. At 91.2%, the graduation rate for Black/African American students increased by over 2 full percentage points from 88.7% in 2019. The graduation rate for Hispanic/Latinx students also showed improvement at 80.4% in 2020, up from 79.3% in 2019. Among students receiving special services, the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) group showed the greatest improvement, increasing by over 10 percentage points to 57.9%, from 47.2% last year. The rates for students eligible for free and reduced-priced meals, which is an indicator of poverty, improved by over 5 percentage points to 84.3% for 2020, compared to 79.1% last year. Graduation rates for students receiving special education services rose to 73.8%, up from 70.5% in 2019. The group designations are assigned by MSDE to track year-over-year performance.

“Our focus on equity to give all students the supports they need to be successful is driven by the goal to ensure all students are college and career ready, and the graduation rate is a key performance indicator,” said Superintendent Michael J. Martirano. “The improvements in graduation rates among several student groups that have been most impacted by achievement gaps are encouraging, and reinforce the importance of initiatives around attendance, access, achievement and acceptance, which are closely associated with student achievement. As we recover from the pandemic, we must amplify our support for students who have been most acutely impacted, and we are preparing a robust summer learning program to provide learning recovery and acceleration.”

“High school graduation is one of the most critical milestones in preparing for a satisfying, successful life, and much of our success as a school system can be evaluated by our effectiveness in graduating every one of our students,” said Board of Education Chair Chao Wu. “I am pleased that Howard County graduation rates continue to improve, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our outstanding staff.” 

HCPSS focuses improvement efforts targeted to all of the major factors contributing to student engagement, achievement and ultimately, graduation. The school system’s Strategic Call to Action: Learning and Leading with Equity includes multiple strategies and performance measures aimed at improving achievement and learning engagement, with individualized instruction, equitable access to learning experiences, and special supports for at-risk and struggling students. The instructional program emphasizes education as a birth-through-graduation continuum and involves families and the community as essential partners in student success. System and school leaders continuously work to identify and address the root causes of equity gaps that influence achievement and graduation levels. Multiple HCPSS initiatives are targeted to overcome factors that contribute to achievement gaps, which begin in the early grades.

MSDE posts details on graduation and dropout rates for HCPSS and other systems and individual schools on its Maryland Report Card site.

https://news.hcpss.org/news-posts/2021/02/hcpss-class-of-2020-graduation-rate-continues-to-rise/

HCPSS Board of Education Transition to Hybrid Meetings

HCPSS Board of Education Transition to Hybrid Meetings

March 5th, 2021

The Howard County Board of Education will transition to a hybrid board meeting format beginning with the March 11, 2021 meeting, with some Board members and staff participating in person while others continue participating remotely.

As the Board transitions to a hybrid meeting model, it is the Board’s desire to provide the public an opportunity to attend Board meetings in person, while keeping the option to participate and view virtually as the public has done since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board will continue evaluating state guidelines and Board processes and protocols and will make adjustments as necessary to accommodate additional public participation.

During the Public Forum portion of the meeting, members of the public may continue to participate and speak virtually. However, should any speakers wish to attend and speak in person, they will be able to do so beginning with the March 11, 2021 Board meeting. Additionally, the public may register to attend the March 11 Board meeting in person. In order to adhere to safety protocols, there will be limited space for people to attend and observe, with capacity set for 16 public attendees.

Upon arrival, guests will check in at the front desk of the Department of Education building and follow signage into the Boardroom, while adhering to the guidelines and requirements for wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Those speaking at Public Forum will have assigned seats and will be directed to the podium when Public Forum begins. If there is more than one in-person speaker, the podium will be sanitized between speakers.

The deadline to sign up to participate in the March 11 Public Forums or to view the meeting in person is Tuesday, March 9. Please contact Kathy Hanks via email at Kathleen_hanks@hcpss.org to register. Speakers must select their preference to attend in person or virtually at the time of sign up.

https://news.hcpss.org/news-posts/2021/03/hcpss-board-of-education-transition-to-hybrid-meetings/

Board Member Report 2021-2-25

Board Member Report 2021-2-25

Starting from March 1st, next Monday, we will have several thousands students returning to the classroom. This is the first step and large scale of our bridge to normalized in-person education. The phase by phase return helps us to have a capacity for a socially-distanced classroom and other logistic arrangements. 

It is important for the community to fully understand the unprecedented actions the Board and administration have taken to ensure the health and safety of our students and employees.

I know some of our staff have complex feelings. Some are excited to return to the classroom, and some have anxieties. Some even quit their jobs. For our teachers, staff and administrators, I truly appreciate what you have been doing for our students during this difficult time. 

Approving the hybrid plan is one of the most difficult decisions for me as a board member. We need to safeguard the health of our workforce, students and community. We also have to meet our students’ needs. We have to find a middle-ground for these two and we are walking a fine line here. 

There may be glitches, uncertainties and unknowns in the implementation of the hybrid plan. We are actively looking for your feedback on how to revise and improve our delivery of education. It is a complex and interwoven system and we are exploring something we had never tried at this scale before. We are patient and optimistic. 

I sincerely hope all of us will work together to get through this unprecedented difficult time. The pandemic will be gone eventually, but the support and encouragement you render to our educators and our students will never go away.

Thank you very much.