From Dr. Chao Wu, 2018 Howard County Board of Education Candidate
The following answers are my positions to the questionnaire presented to me by Corey Andrews, former BOE candidate and the Administrator of Facebook Group: Howard County, Maryland.
Q1. What experiences do you have that qualify you to serve on the Board of Education?
A1: I have been actively involved with the school system. I served on the BOE Operating Budget Review Committee (OBRC). I have testified on multiple issues during Board of Education hearings including later school starting time and school redistricting. Most recently I provided suggestions to the school regarding transportation optimization. I have been attending the HCPSS Community Advisory Committee and my local PTA meetings.
I have been elected twice as a Board Member of Columbia Association and River Hill Village Association. I am a strong proponent of fiscal health and great customer service for Columbia Association.
I was educated in three different education systems, China, Singapore and USA. My unique international education experience gives me a multi-dimensional perspective and approach while looking at issues and solving problems.
Originated from my training as an engineer, I am always looking for optimal and practical solutions to problems that I have encountered. I strongly believe that with good education and hard-working spirit, our students will find a great future for themselves after graduating from HCPSS.
Q2. What role does a member of the Howard County Board of Education fill?
A2: A school board member should serve as a policy maker to serve all the students and families in the county.
Q3. Have you ever attended a meeting of the Howard County Board of Education?
A3: I have been consistently attending the board meetings. And I testified in front of BOE numerous times on important issues that face HCPSS students and their families.
Q4. Numerous officials have indicated that the Howard County government will be facing a few difficult years ahead in budgeting and finance. How do you propose the Board of Education address these challenges?
A4: The BOE should look both inside and outside. Inside the school system, we should make any school programs accountable to reduce waste, improve efficiency and reduce cost. Outside the school system, we should advocate for more funding from county government, state government and other possible funding resources.
We should also communicate these difficulties to the parents. We may need to cut programs and service which will negatively impact some students. With their help and understanding, it is easier for the school system to move forward. The board should have a clear vision and direction how we can get out of the mounting deficit in an orderly manner.
Q5. Based on the information available to you, briefly assess Dr. Martirano’s first year in office.
A5: I am satisfied with Dr. Martirano’s first year. He communicates with the community well and seeks common ground while making important decisions.
Q6. What does “equity” in education mean to you, and how should HCPSS achieve it?
A6: I believe equity is great and is an achievable goal for our community. HCPSS should utilize resources accordingly to make sure every student has the opportunity to succeed.
Q7. In specifics, how should the Board of Education address school overcrowding?
A7: The BOE should make sure to use every method to address school overcrowding, increase facility utilization rate in every school, slow down or stop increasing the portable classroom gradually.
Since the board approved high school #13 at Mission road, the board should continue look for high school 14. The board should make sure high school #13 will be completed on time. The board should make sure the elementary school in Turf Valley be on track. The board should make sure we build schools where the students are residing.
The board should always have a long term vision on the growing student population, prepare and plan for this growth.
Q8. Briefly, what are your top three priorities if elected?
A8: My top three priorities would be:
1: Fix the deficit problem,
2: Increase board collaboration,
3: Provide equitable opportunities for students and motivate students to learn.