HCPSS Equitable and Effective Discipline Forum

I joined many community members in this forum and listened to Dr. Gina Massella’s presentation this morning at Long Reach High School at 8:30.

In my table, we had a NAACP of HoCo member, a LRHS student council student, Barb Krupiarz from HCPSS Special Education Advisory Committee and an HCPSS teacher(facilitator). I learned a lot.

We have a lot to do. In one way, we should not be afraid of discipling students because we want have our numbers look good. Most important, we should address the discipline problem with students, staff and parents to help our student grow and succeed. It will not happen in a day, but I am confident we can achieve that.

Attached are some figures.

Robot will take our jobs?

Robot will take our jobs. How can HCPSS help our students to avoid this?

  • Andrew Ng’s biggest concern about AI is its effect on Jobs (Not evil AI)
  • Industrial Robot sales in the US are now growing at 32% YoY US (2017)
  • Expected to accelerate as robots become more intelligent, less expensive more capable
  • Low Wage Jobs are most susceptible https://willrobotstakemyjob.com/
  • Based on Oxford 2013 Report on the susceptibility of jobs to computerization in the US
  • Machine learning will put a substantial share of employment across a wide range of occupations at risk
  • By the authors’ estimates about 47% of total US employment is at risk
  • Job automation bottlenecks: Perception and Manipulation, Creative Intelligence, Social Intelligence

Questionnaire and Answers (First)

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.

Overview of Approved CA FY2019-2020 Budget (The Villager 2018-03)

Overview of Approved CA FY2019-2020 Budget

The article is published on The Villager of River Hill Community Association, 2018-03 issue.

On Thursday, February 22, the Columbia Association’s (CA) Board of Directors approved the FY2019 and Conditional FY2020 Budget. In FY 2019-2020, the annual charge rate will be $0.68 of every 100 dollars of the assessed value of the property with a 3.5% cap. I made a motion to bring down the annual charge rate to $0.65 (around 4.4% decrease) which failed. I will continue advocating for a lower annual charge rate in the future. I believe many residents are negatively impacted by this high annual charge fee due to the cap being increase from 2.5% to 3.5% and the continued rise of property values in our community. The membership fee also keeps climbing up each year. I believe that by lowering the cap, Columbia residents will have more disposable income to purchase CA fitness memberships that will offset the loss of assessment share income.

I made a motion to remove approximately $200,000 dollars in funding for village sign replacement since a majority of villages do not like the new sign design. This motion passed. During the budget process, the Board had a lot of discussion on the membership fee, construction of modular houses for Columbia Horse Center, maintenance of CA bridges and tunnels, the outlook for Haven on the Lake, and funding to the Inner Arbor Trust for pathway construction in Symphony Woods. An overview of the approved budget is given below.

Total FY19 budgeted revenue and annual borrowings are $81,798,000. The breakdown by source is provided below ($000’s):

Interest and other $972 (1.2%)
Borrowing $7,316 (8.9%)
Commercial Annual Charge $14,160 (17.3%)
Residential Annual Charge $26,296 (32.2%)
Community Services Programs, $4,775 (5.8%)
Sport and Fitness Income, $28,279(34.6%)

In FY19, the $81,798,000 will be used in the following ways (000’s):

Sport and Fitness Programs and Facilities: $29,371 (35.9%)
Contingencies/other $506 (0.6%)
Administrative Services $2,289 (2.8%)
Village Community Associations $5,411 (6.6%)
Community Services Programs $7,827 (9.6%)
Capital Expenditures $20,000 (24.5%)
Debt Repayment $1,895 (2.3%)
Board of Directors $1,002 (1.2%)
Open Space Management $13,497 (16.5%)

Major capital projects (greater than $500,000) approved for FY19 and FY 20 include:

Columbia Swim Center – Phase III Renovations $1,225,000
Watershed improvement projects $710,000
Athletic Club – Phase II Renovations $5,000,000
Columbia Gym – HVAC $600,000
Horse Center – Facility Assessment Survey Items $655,000
Supreme Sports Club Renovation $4,700,000
Haven on the Lake – Site Renovation $1,000,000
Slayton House-Theater Renovations $515,000
Columbia-Wide HVAC Systems $600,000
Columbia-Wide Watershed Stabilization $850,000
Columbia Wide Ponds Dredging and Repairs $846,000
Lake Elkhorn Planning and Dredging $1,090,000
Equipment and Vehicles $800,000
Sport and Fitness Facilities and Equipment Upgrades $550,000
Columbia-Wide Bridge Replacement $615,000
Columbia-Wide Pathway Renovations $1,000,000
Aquatics- Hawthorn ADA-Complaint Wading Pool $500,000
Headquarters Building –Reserve for Deposit $1,100,000
Stonehouse – Full Building Renovation $750,000

To view more information on CA’s FY19/20 budget, visit: www.columbiaassociation.org/budget.

Chao Wu, Ph.D.
River Hill Representative to Columbia Council and Columbia Association Board of Directors

Email: superbwu@gmail.com Website: http://www.chaowu.org

Disclaimer: This letter only represents Dr. Chao Wu’s personal opinion. It does not represent River Hill Board of Directors nor Columbia Association’s Board.

Proposed 2019 HCPSS Budget

Many people asked me about the 2019 HCPSS Budget. I am extracting some key figures here for people to have a high-level overview.

Current Status: The Board is making changes on this budget and will approve the final version soon and then send it to the county executive. The county executive may make changes if needed and then send the budget to the county council for approval. Then county council may make changes (the council can restore the cut if the county executive makes cut, but the council cannot add more than the originally asked amount) and decide to approve it or not.

The 631 pages budget book is located here: https://www.boarddocs.com/mabe/hcpssmd/Board.nsf/files/AUV4NG032861/$file/01%2009%202018%20FY%202019%20Supt%20Proposed%20Operating%20Budget.pdf

2019 HCPSS expenditures by category

2019 HCPSS budget categories

Of each budget dollar, 80 cents funds school staff and teaching materials, 5 cents funds transportation, and 11 cents funds facility operation and maintenance. Central office administration and support accounts for just 4 cents per budget dollar – representing one of the lowest overhead levels among school systems throughout Maryland.


2019 HCPSS revenue