AAPI History is American History
Our latest article (with Dr. Yun Lu, Ms. Judy Zhou and Ms. Alexandra Ni) is published on a national journal–American School Board Journal by National School Board Association.
Our latest article (with Dr. Yun Lu, Ms. Judy Zhou and Ms. Alexandra Ni) is published on a national journal–American School Board Journal by National School Board Association.
|July 12, 2021|
This press release is being sent jointly by the Howard County Public School System and County Executive’s Office
Ellicott City, Maryland — Howard County Public School System Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano, joined by Board of Education Chair Dr. Chao Wu, County Executive Calvin Ball, County Council Chair Liz Walsh, and system and county leaders, today announced the school system’s health fund deficit will be eliminated this year (fiscal year 2022) – two years ahead of schedule.
The deficit, which began in 2015 and was first discussed publicly in May 2017 by then newly hired Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano, grew to $39.2 million before a combination of several efforts were implemented to halt the continuing deficit growth. The first step was to begin to fully fund actuarially projected health insurance costs and then begin to pay down the deficit. In 2019, a plan was jointly developed by the Superintendent and County Executive to eliminate the deficit by fiscal year 2024. Using savings within the school system’s operating budget, a one-time infusion of funds from the Howard County Government, and a lower-than-expected claims experience in fiscal years 2021 and 2022, the health deficit will be eliminated in this current fiscal year (July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022) with an estimated $5 million positive balance if claims are consistent with actuarial projections.
“This deficit has significantly constrained our operating budget for several years and limited our ability to adequately fund several priorities,” said Superintendent Martirano. “Eliminating the deficit became an immediate top priority for me and Board of Education members. Today truly is a momentous day as we can celebrate that our commitment and collaboration has finally addressed this deficit and that the Howard County Public School System will not be hampered by this looming deficit year after year. It is our responsibility and the responsibility of all future leaders in our county to ensure that our employee health care costs are fully funded.”
“The School System’s Health Fund Deficit represented a significant fiscal challenge that our Administration and County Council had to confront upon taking office. In just 3 years, we have accomplished something truly remarkable: we have taken a near $40 million deficit and turned it into a projected surplus of over $5 million,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “Our Administration, School System and Board of Education faced a daunting challenge, met it head on, and resolved the issue working together. I am proud of the work we’ve done to eliminate the Health Fund Deficit and am thankful to have good partners like Dr. Martirano, the members of the Board of Education, and our Howard County Council to make today possible.”
“This was not a problem created by this Board or this Superintendent, but it was ours to fix,” said Board Chair Wu. “Since 2017, this Board of Education has prioritized fully funding the actuarially projected health insurance costs, preventing the deficit from growing. We will continue to prioritize the health benefits that our employees receive and engage in sound financial practices to ensure we never find ourselves in this position again.”
“The County Council has shared consistently with the Superintendent’s and Board of Education’s goal to eliminate this health fund deficit as quickly as we possibly could,” said Liz Walsh, County Council Chair. “So much so that we voted unanimously in support of an amendment to dedicate an additional $2.5 million to this exclusive purpose. We can now all turn our attention to fully funding the present needs and future needs of our county school system and the children in our care at this very moment and for generations to come.”
The Superintendent detailed several collaborative efforts to eliminate the health fund deficit:
“Today truly is a momentous day as we celebrate that our commitment and collaboration has finally addressed this deficit and our budgetary focus will not be on getting out of a multi-million dollar debt but on how the budget can support the very important programs and services that our students and staff need. This includes implementing the Blueprint for Maryland legislation and welcoming back all of our students back to school next month to normalized instruction,” added Martirano.
This is the official report form HCPSS school staff. I wrote on this topic a few weeks earlier: https://chaowu.org/2021/05/30/latency-and-disconnect-in-the-new-construction-yield-and-school-over-capacity/
Our current board administrator Mrs. Kathy Hanks will retire soon. We will miss Mrs. Hanks greatly. Her professionalism is the best I have ever seen.
We are hiring for a new one.
Central Office, Professional/Administrator to the Board of Education
Central Office, Howard County Public School System
Administrator to the Board of Education
This position opens on June 25, 2021 and closes July 11, 2021.
Under the supervision of the Chairman of the Board of Education (BOE), the Administrator to the Board of Education provides oversight and implementation of the daily operations of the Board of Education office including the supervision of assigned administrative staff. The Administrator serves as a liaison between members of the Board of Education, Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) staff, and constituents. The Administrator works closely with the Office of the Superintendent to coordinate joint meetings, the development of the quarterly agenda, and the response to urgent matters.
The ideal candidate for this position has exceptional ability to manage complex and time sensitive projects. With outstanding customer service and communication skills, this individual deals tactfully and effectively with school administrators, school system staff, external organizations, and the general public. The ideal candidate is skilled in the use a variety of computer software and cloud-based applications such as Microsoft Office, Google Workspace, and video conferencing platforms. The ability to exercise judgment, resourcefulness, discretion, and confidentiality in this role is paramount.
To learn more about employment with HCPSS, please visit https://www.hcpss.org/employment/.
ESSENTIAL POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES
The above list is a summary of the functions of the job, not an exhaustive or comprehensive list of all possible job responsibilities, tasks, and duties.
Applicants must meet all the following qualifications, listed below, to be considered for the vacancy.
This is a 12-month per year position in the Administrative, Management, and Technical employee group. The current salary range for this position is Group G, $102,020- $148,624. Salary placement will be in conjunction with salary procedures of the Howard County Public School System which considers relevant prior experience. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, this position is exempt from overtime.
Only applicants who submit all the requested information by the closing date of the vacancy will be considered for this position. Interviews will be limited to those applicants who, in addition to meeting the basic requirements, have experiences and education which most closely match the position qualifications and the needs of the school system.
Please note that a completed application includes:
HCPSS requires an official evaluation of foreign credentials to verify educational qualifications.
For questions regarding this vacancy, please contact:
Human Resources Business Partner
Office of Human Resources
Equal Opportunity Employer
The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) is an Equal Opportunity Employer. HCPSS ensures equal employment opportunity for all persons without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.
2. The OBRC recommends that HCPSS modernize its technology curriculum to expand the introduction to coding as a second language and computer science as a core discipline from K-12. (Recommendation approved unanimously)
3. The OBRC recommends the Board fully fund the line item on page 290 of the Superintendent’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Budget of $174,000 for contracted services that “Increases funding to provide reading intervention and dyslexia tutoring services provided by Orton Gillingham.” (Recommendation approved unanimously)
4. The OBRC recommends the Board direct the Superintendent to present a cost-benefit analysis of the expected expenditures and/or savings incurred or expected through advancing expertise, training and certification of critical education staff and shifting to in-house staff development in science based and data driven reading intervention programs (one example is Orton Gillingham) to provide student tutoring versus contracting with outside services. (Recommendation approved unanimously)
5. The OBRC recommends the Board direct the Superintendent to more clearly define the HCPSS implementation process and initiatives that allow HCPSS to sustain and fully comply with the Ready to Read Act of 2019 and the key performance indicators on page 289 of the Superintendent’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Budget and to decrease the achievement gap of students that are identified as failing the benchmark of proficient in reading, including defining the 5 year (or longer) plan and the expected operating dollars that would be expended and/or saved. (Recommendation approved unanimously)
6. The OBRC recommends the Board direct the Superintendent to conduct a comparative analysis, using surrounding school districts, of the special education teachers/teacher’s aides to student ratio and the respective average caseloads. The OBRC requests the analysis compare current job descriptions and responsibilities of special education related services and support staff (i.e. paraprofessionals and behavioral specialists), to provide information to assess if HCPSS is utilizing the most effective staffing formula models to provide mandated special education services. (Recommendation approved unanimously)
7. The OBRC recommends the Board direct the Superintendent to conduct a cost-benefit analysis for utilizing HCPSS employed and trained staff vs. temporary teacher’s aides, including the expected
expenditures and/or savings incurred to convert staff from temporary to full-time employees and necessary steps and timeline for the conversion. (Recommendation approved unanimously)
8. The OBRC recommends the Board request detailed staff turnover reports for Programs 3320 & 3321 for fiscal years 2018 to 2020 to explain the discrepancies between the budgets and actuals for salaries. The Board requests the report include the number of vacancies on the first day of school, the last day of the first semester, and the last day of school. (Recommendation approved unanimously)
9. The OBRC recommends the Board request a detailed explanation of where excess funds for Programs 3320 & 3321 were reallocated/reinvested in fiscal years 2018 to 2020 (excluding the federal pass-through funding in fiscal year 2020 that distorts the final numbers). (Recommendation approved unanimously)
10. The OBRC recommends the Board request that the fiscal year 2022 budget reflect the delineation between federal pass-through dollars in Program 3321 – Contracted Labor and traditional funding sources to clarify the massive increase in spending that has not been explained in the fiscal year 2021 budget or fiscal year 2022 budget proposal. (Recommendation approved unanimously)
11. The OBRC recommends the Board review salary increases and discontinue the practice of “me-too” salary adjustments for AMT staff not covered under the bargaining positions to achieve closer alignment with salary maximums in peer counties. (Recommendation approved unanimously)
12. The OBRC recommends the Board direct the Superintendent to provide the Board with a comparison of four similar size peer county models for administration of community service and pass-through programs such as Health Services, Infants & Toddlers, and Mental Health Services to clarify the cost impact on HCPSS. (Recommendation approved unanimously)
13. The OBRC recommends the Board include full funding of $5,357,451 in the Operating Budget for the Funding Commitments for Special Education New Enrollment. (Recommendation approved by consensus)
14. The OBRC recommends the Board ask the Superintendent to prepare a report that includes information from each department and/or division that has Policy 1080 implementation responsibility and budgetary impact. (Recommendation approved by consensus)
15. The OBRC recommends the Board provide full funding from sources including the Operating Budget and other sources of funds for the new Digital Education Center. (Recommendation approved by consensus)
16. The OBRC recommends the Board include full funding in the Operating Budget for Sustaining Technology Infrastructure and Cybersecurity Safeguards. (Recommendation approved 13 to 0 with 2 abstentions)
17. The OBRC recommends the Board include full funding in the Operating Budget for Enhanced Efforts in Reading Instruction and Dyslexia Training. (Recommendation approved by consensus)
18. The OBRC recommends the Board consider the one-time funding listed in the application for ESSER II in determining what areas may be reasonable to consider reducing in the primary Operating Budget, where one-time expenditures exist, with the intention to leverage the enhanced opportunities in state funding to meet HCPSS goals. (Recommendation approved 9 to 0 with 5 abstentions)
19. The OBRC recommends the Board not set the management presentation schedule for the OBRC. (Recommendation approved 12 to 1)
20. The OBRC recommends the Board give the OBRC an opportunity to provide monthly reports at Board meetings during the budget period of January to June to improve communication and feedback between the Board and the OBRC. (Recommendation approved by consensus)
Here is an update from the pay error investigation in the office of Human Resources of HCPSS. When I first heard one single pay error, I asked our internal auditor to investigate the situation immediately. With the proposed suggestion for future efforts to reduce errors, I am hoping such error will keep reducing.
Just saw the BBC news on US riches people barely paying tax: “US super-rich ‘pay almost no income tax“. This is a fundamentally flawed tax system. In the article, IRS and Mike Bloomberg talked about their privacy was jeopardized and they will hunt down those who leaked the information. Very interesting angle.
The growing wealth gap in USA is hurting the country and it is the No. problem to be sovled. The share of American adults who live in middle-income households has decreased from 61% in 1971 to 51% in 2019. During this time, the share of adults in the upper-income tier increased from 14% to 20%, and the share in the lower-income tier increased from 25% to 29%. Ref: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/02/07/6-facts-about-economic-inequality-in-the-u-s/
Another problem is that many Americans don’t mange finance well. Some 40% of Americans would struggle to come up with even $400 to pay for an unexpected bill. Ref: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/20/heres-why-so-many-americans-cant-handle-a-400-unexpected-expense.html
Then I did another search comparing Amazon (Jeff Bezos, the richest in USA) and Alibaba (Jack Ma, the richest in China).
That’s because Amazon actually owed money to the federal government in 2019. After two straight years of paying $0 in U.S. federal income tax, Amazon was on the hook for a $162 million bill in 2019, the company said in an SEC filing on Thursday.
Alibaba paid more than 7 billion yuan (HK$ 8.9 billion) in taxes last year, averaging around 20 million in taxes per day, Jack Ma revealed in a company letter on Monday, according to The Beijing News.
During the last ten years, Howard County Population growth is 14.3%, the highest rate among all Maryland Counties. Maryland population growth is 4.9%, while Baltimore City and small eastern and western counties are losing populations.
Here is the latest feasibility study. No boundary adjustment is recommended for 2022.
For 2023 redistricting because of new schools are constructed:
There have been continuous discussions of school prediction on new housing development is not reflecting the school overcrowding issue. Here I am sharing some numbers of 15 housing developments. We have the projected student numbers and the real enrollment in 2018,2019 and 2020. The real enrollment is as high as 6 times as projected for High School, 4.66 times for Middle School and 3.61 times for Elementary School. Why is there such a disconnect? Here are some of my thoughts.
What is your thought? Please share it with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks a lot for helping me understand this issue better. Together we hope we can get this right.
The data is attached here for your reference. BOE board member VicKy Cutroneo put many efforts on this and shared this data with me.
May 27, 2021
Ellicott City, Maryland — The Howard County Board of Education adopted its Operating and Capital Budgets for the 2021-2022 school year (FY 2022) on Thursday, May 27, 2021. The operating budget totals $942.6 million, an increase of $23.9 million over FY 2021. The FY 2022 capital budget totals $90.4 million, providing continuity of funding for priority capital projects.
The FY 2022 operating budget maintains the school system’s focus on supporting students and the staff who are entrusted with their education and care, by maintaining existing program and service levels without reducing class sizes or staff positions. It includes funding to advance the Board’s key priorities, including addressing critical shortages in special education staffing, enhancing the staffing and focus on student mental health and well-being, and increasing staff compensation.
“I am pleased that despite the need to make difficult decisions, we are able to increase our continuous support for special education, focus on students’ mental health and well-being, maintain class sizes, and advance other essential goals for the support of our students and excellent staff,” said Board Chair Dr. Chao Wu. “I appreciate the support and collaboration among our County Executive, County Council, Board members, Superintendent, staff and community members, which have resulted in a budget that is fiscally responsible while addressing the Board’s most critical priorities.”
“This budget moves our system forward in enhancing services and supports to give each student the best possible education in a nurturing learning environment, and to support the staff whom we entrust with their learning and care,” said HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano. “This budget represents a substantial increase in positions to support student well-being – which has been one of my top priorities – and adds five social workers, three pupil personnel workers, thirteen counselors and one psychologist. I greatly appreciate the ongoing collaboration among our county leaders, Board, staff and community, whose dedicated efforts have been instrumental in ensuring financial support for our students and schools within a very tight fiscal environment.”
The $942.6 million operating budget includes $640.8 million in county funding, representing approximately $10.5 million above Maintenance of Effort, the minimum level of funding required by state law; $282.5 million from the state; and $7.4 million from federal and other sources. The budget also includes the use of $12 million of unassigned fund balance in order to fulfill obligations and advance key goals without requiring deeper impact to the classroom.
The approved FY 2022 operating budget maintains the school system’s commitment to sound fiscal management and cost containment while fulfilling several of HCPSS’ highest priorities:
As a result of the ongoing budget pressures in the county and state, the needs of the school system continue to outpace funding allocations, and the Board had to make difficult decisions to balance the FY 2022 budget. Significant savings were realized by eliminating proposed new staff positions associated with enrollment growth anticipated in the 2021-2022 school year, while increasing the number of pooled positions to allow flexibility in staffing assignments throughout the year. Notably, the adopted budget avoids any reductions in services or programs, or increases in class size.
Additional savings were achieved through the use of grant funding to cover as many costs as possible for technology infrastructure and student services. HCPSS will continue to aggressively seek federal and state grant funding to accelerate learning recovery and help relieve costs resulting from the pandemic and its impact on students and schools.
The Board adopted a FY 2022 Capital Budget totaling $90.4 million, for costs associated with continued construction of a replacement Talbott Springs Elementary School, scheduled to open in fall 2022; continued construction of a new 13th county high school, targeted to open in fall 2023; and a renovation and addition to Hammond High School, scheduled for completion in fall 2023. Additional funding is allocated for on-going and systemic renovations, which include replacements and upgrade of rooftops, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems at several schools, and other continued capital needs.
Details of the budget decisions are available online.
HCPSS BOE is receiving its first charter school application, at least in my term. Here it is the application document for discussion on Thursday May 27, 2021. The school will be located in Elkridge and focus on students with needs.
The report provides the evaluation of the Reading Opens Doors, Inc charter school application. The original letter of intent and application were received on August 7, 2020 with the final application documents received on March 4, 2021. The applicant’s focus is to maximize the academic abilities of K-5th vulnerable and marginalized children and help them to pursue their dreams.
Here is the application pdf file.
Maybe I missed, I did not see any Asian Americans on this committee, nor Latino Americans.
Some comments on the challenges raised in the report
Housing supply has not kept up with housing demand, particularly over the last decade and given recent employment growth. This imbalance between supply and demand is leading to rising affordability issues.
Wu Comment: what is the goal (balance point) for the demand and need? If we don’t define it, we will see this argument for life.
A lack of housing diversity throughout Howard County inhibits racial and socioeconomic integration. Historically disadvantaged populations, lower-income households and households experiencing poverty find that most of the housing options affordable to them are concentrated in only a few locations. This challenge is especially problematic considering that most remaining land and school capacity is in the Rural West, where current zoning regulations largely prohibit affordable housing development of any kind.
Wu Comment: But they are keeping building low-income houses in a few buildings in the Columbia downtown area, instead those should be spreat out. The newly proposed policies keep the same old, ill-practice.
New development today is less diverse than the housing inventory overall. In recent years, new development has shifted in favor of rental apartments, and—at the same time—the for-sale market has largely stopped building smaller, attainably priced for-sale housing.
Wu Comment: there are only limited lands available and only 7% land left for development in Howard County.
Howard County lacks a cohesive strategy for prioritization, policy/program design, and resource allocation.
Wu Comment: The policies are driven by developers such that loophole and exception everywhere.
Existing resources are not sufficient to meet current and future capacity and demands (e.g., schools, transportation, etc.) while also dedicating funds to housing goals.
Wu Comment: That is the reason we need slow down new development to make sure the current school capacity and infrastructure to catch up first. Keeping building more and we will never catch up.
It continues to be difficult to supply housing for diverse populations, with significant needs going forward.
Wu Comment: this is a very vague statement and it be applied anywhere they see fit.
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic disruption is exposing and exacerbating housing insecurity.
Wu Comment: This is true.
A large portion of housing that is affordable to low- and moderate-income households in Howard County is older and at risk of deterioration and/or redevelopment going forward.
The Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (“APFO”) is placing significant limitations on the amount of housing that can be built, and it is
potentially accelerating those capacity issues by limiting the ability to increase the tax base.
Wu Comment: New housing development could not pay for itself, neither school funding nor other infrastructure cost. Here is my calculation for your reference: https://chaowu.org/2021/05/10/some-math-about-hcpss-funding-needs-and-gaps/
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).
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.
This ppt reports the status of displine data and school initiative to improve and support our students. The ppt is attached here: