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.

2018 BOE All Candidate Questionnaire and Answers (first round)

Thanks to Scott Ewart, here is the summary of all responses (One candidate did not respond):


I am looking forward to hearing your feedback on each candidate’s position, what is their main focus and main policy direction. Bear with me, I know some of responses are really really long. 🙂

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.

2018 Final HoCo BOE 13 Candidate List

There are 13 Board of Education candidates (We need elect 8 for the primary on Tuesday 6/26/2018 and elect 4 on Tuesday 11/6/2018). School board member has a part time job, but the work is tremendously important to our community. Their work can help us strengthen our school system and guarantee a quality education for all of our children on this county.

I will be your candidate who listens to you, seeks common ground and makes sound and practical judgements.

Here is the list of 2018 HoCo BOE candidates and I will highlight how I know them before.

Candidate Website Background
Chao Wu www.chaowu.org It is me, an engineer and analyst, a Board Member of Columbia Association and River Hill Village Association
Sabina Taj sabinataj.org Adjunct Professor at Howard Community College
Mavourene Robinson none CAC member, used to be River Hill Village Board Member
Saif Reihman www.vote4rehman.com A private business owner
Carleen Pena none CAC member
Anita Pandey www.anitapandeyboe.org Professor from Morgan State University
Robert Miller http://www.miller4boe.org Retired HCPSS teacher, ran BOE in 2016
Jen Mallo votejenmallo.com CAC member. I knew her husband through BOE Operating Budget Review Committee meetings before.
Danny Mackey dannymackey.org HCPSS graduate
Christopher Michael Hilfiger hilfigerforboe.com none
Timothy Hodgson Hamilton hamiltonforboe.com none
Bog Glascock www.bobglascock.org retired HCPSS teacher
Vicky Cutroneo none ran BOE in 2016, current PTAC president

Here CAC stands for Community Advisory Committee for HCPSS. When I wrote the article around 9:30PM tonight, we had only twelve candidates. Now we got the 13th candidate:Vicky Cutroneo.

Meet your candidate twice in February

I am inviting you to meet your HoCo BOE candidate Chao Wu at the following two events:

First One:

Time: Monday 7:00-9:00PM, February -19- 2018

Location: The Marchand Room of Kahler Hall, Village of Harpers’ Choice

Address: 5440 Old Tucker Row, Columbia, MD, 21044

Pizza and drinks will be provided. Kids are welcome.

Second One:

Time: 7:00PM-9:00PM, Wednesday, Februrary-21-2018

Location: The Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center, Village of Long Reach

Address: 6030 Tamar Dr, Columbia, MD 21045

Pizza and drinks will be provided. Kids are welcome.


My Thought on Proposed HCPSS FY 2019 Operating Budget

I am sharing some of my thoughts on the superintendent Dr. Martirano’s proposed 2019 HCPSS operating budget.

  1. It is great that he proposed something reasonable than previous superintendent did. A 3.9% increase of funding request will be more likely funded by the county government and others. In the previous year, a nearly 10% increase of funding request was proposed and they knew it would not be approved. Then some people played political games. I wish in the future, they always come out with a reasonable funding request. It will be even better that they consult with the county government on the possible funding.
  2. I am glad to see that a four-year plan to address the Health Fund structural imbalance and deficit is proposed, especially Dr. Martirano will be the superintendent for the next four years. The deficit balance has accumulated over several years and is projected to reach a balance of $50.5 million by year end FY 2018. So HCPSS spent around 150 million dollars on the employee’s health care yearly (?). While I sat on the BOE Operating Budget Review Committee in 2017, I immediately realized how serious the deficit problem would be. I believe the HCPSS health care plan should be restructured. Incentives should be given to those staff who may use some high detuctble insurance plan, etc.
  3. I am glad that teachers’ salary increase is on the table. We should always treat our teachers with respect and pay them well.

Several considerations from myself:

  1. The HCPSS transportation issue was not discussed. I wish they continue to optimize the bus service such that they increase the safety of bus service (hiring more staff from last year ORBC recommendation), increase the efficiency of the bus service ( route planning/optimizing using high technology). This is also related to the “start high school later” movement which I believe in. A reasonable school start time for all schools between 8:00-9:30 is more acceptable. The number one concern is that doing so will increase the transportation cost dramatically so I wish optimization and technology will find a way to implement this change.

What is your thought?