Your comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some timelines for the process.
All public hearings will be held at the Department of Education, 10910 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City, with satellite rooms available for overflow.
Tuesday, September 17, 7 p.m.
Families currently zoned for Centennial HS, Howard HS, Mt. Hebron HS, Oakland Mills HS
Tuesday, September 24, 7 p.m.
Families currently zoned for Atholton HS, Hammond HS, Long Reach HS, Wilde Lake HS
Thursday, September 26, 7 p.m.
Families currently zoned for Glenelg HS, Marriotts Ridge HS, Reservoir HS, River Hill HS
Board Work Session
The Board of Education is currently scheduled to have seven public work sessions to discuss the suggested boundary review. The public may attend a work session but may not participate. The BOE is expected to make a preliminary decision during their final work session on November 18.
Thursday, October 10, 6:30 p.m
Thursday, October 24, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 30, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 5, 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, November 12, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 14, 6:30 p.m..
Monday, November 18 Preliminary decision
Board Final Decision
The Board of Education is scheduled to make their final decision on any boundary line adjustments.
Here is another animation which shows how our school population changes over the last 11 years in Howard County. The red dots highlights higher student populations.
The four public input sessions have concluded; however, you can continue to provide feedback to help inform the Superintendent’s recommendations, by completing the online survey or submitting alternative boundary solutions by August 1.
Superintendent Proposal on August 20
The Superintendent will make his recommendation to the Board of Education on Tuesday, August 20. The Board will gather feedback from the community during public hearings on September 17, 24 and 26, and will hold work sessions on October 10, 24 and 30, and November 5, 12, 14 and 18. Find more details including how you can provide testimony.
BOE Nov. 21 Decision
On Thursday, November 21, the Board will make a decision on redistricting for the 2020-2021 school year.
How to find the triangle between technical correctness, organizational implementation and political support and provide opportunities for all students is always a challenging work.
Technical correctness analysis needs establish a baseline for the outcome we expect. For example, when we talk about 100% high school graduation rate, we should know that is not technical correct. However, it will gain political support. A controlled study for technical correctness will be an important study to create a baseline.
Organizational implementation needs check the reality due to the limited budget the school has. How to pull the resources together to support the equity work is not straightforward. Then organization change may happen if a new superintendent comes online. We should remember nationally a superintendent’s tenure is 3.2 years which is less than a four year contract. So a sustainable long term, organizational implementation plan should be created.
There is no doubt that political support is always here. However, due to different understanding on how to achieve the goal and help our students’ to achieve their full potential, there is a high possibility that different opinions will arise. How a program should start and be implemented will vary. Unfortunately these different opinions may be viewed as not supporting school equity. We need overcome this type of accusation.
It is my first school budget. The process is painful and the result is painful.
It was so painful that I have to see so many dedicated technology teachers, math support teachers, reading support teachers, math instruction support teachers, and paraeducators will lose their positions due to our vote. Fortunately they will not lose their job and income.
It is not your fault at all. When a math resource teacher called me and cried, I really don’t know what to say that point. We don’t have much choices.
increasing class size, cutting music teachers, cutting GT teachers , cutting technology teachers, cutting paraeducator, cutting math support teachers or reading support teachers or more. There is no good choice and we have to balance the budget.
I am looking forward to seeing how to make next year budget better. The reality is very tough. We will have a 37 millions dollar health care deficit and around 12 million dollar operating budget deficit starting at our next budget discussion.
We need revenue and find efficiency. We need clean our house first before any new initiatives.
Managing our temporary worker system will bring some money.
Charging daycare center running on school facility will bring some money. Right now, the rent is 1 dollar.
Charging some school facility usage fee will bring some revenue
We need increase school fundraising effort. (added after the post loaded here)
We need examine every aspect of our operation.
We need figure out how to increase our starting teacher salary to 50k to make our salary competitive . We need examine our health care benefit and reform it, and make it more sustainable as soon as possible. Our teachers and staff need our support.
Running a school system is also like running a business. We need find efficiency. We need find result. We need innovate.
Furthermore, we need our county executive and county council’s continuous and strong support.
We need increase our development impact fee to at least 8 dollars per square fee, which is still lower than neighboring counties. This will bring tens of million dollars to the county revenue and ease the school over-crowding a little bit. This will decrease our need to rely on debt to fund county capital budgets.
If people consider increasing property tax and other tax, please make sure the development impact fee will be increased first
also make sure the increased revenue will go into education. We should always be mindful increasing tax will create an extra financial burden to many families too.
The school system can only do so much with limited revenue. I will make sure our school system will not go back to the same faulty path as previous school administration.
We don’t have a rosy road ahead of us at all. Let’s all work together to fix the problem, bring our school back to the right track gradually and still be one of the best.
River Hill (Wednesday, 5/29/2019, 7:00PM-9:00)/ Mount Hebron (Thursday, 5/30)
By Dr. Chao Wu
It is a great honor to speak with you, our seniors. You will soon fly around the world to find your passion, work on your dream and enjoy a new chapter of your life. I would like to encourage you to “embrace the change”.
As one of the great ancient Chinese philosophers, Lao Zi in Taode Jing, 2400 years ago, wrote:
Dao that can be talked about is not the eternal Dao itself; A name that can be given is not the eternal thing itself.
I am extending a little bit here: you today will not be the same you tomorrow. Change always happens.
My life has been full of changes.
I did not have a high-school graduation ceremony, neither did some of the parents here. When I was in high school, our main purpose was to work hard and to get into college because there were very few other opportunities. At that time, there were only 30% or less high school graduates who can go to a college.
Then I received a really great score from the three-day college entrance exam and entered one of the best universities in China. It opened the door to me for many more opportunities. Later I went to Singapore and then came to University of Maryland. Then I settled in Howard County and ran for the school board in 2018. With a dedicated campaign, I won a seat on the school board eventually.
In my life, I have been working really hard and preparing for the opportunities when it becomes available. There is no other way around since I came from a very humble, unprivileged family. I kept moving forward, and adapted myself to the three different societies that are quite different in culture, economic and political environments.
I strive to be the better of myself.
Change is permanent in our lives. Embrace the change.
The same for you, our proud and young graduates. Your new chapter of life will be different. You will not be under your parent’s radar any more. You will face never-ending changes and encounter differences in all spectrums. You will have countless opportunities to shape your own future.
The world is so big. You will be like a water drop in the ocean. However, please don’t forget your High School friends. Remember: your classmates next to you, may be your colleagues or even start-up co-founders. Can you have a hug with them now?
Embrace the change and follow by action
Embrace the change, understand the challenge and lead by action, not just words. Trust me, your future will be mainly decided by your own action.
The society is changing so much in recent years which is driven by the societal, economic and political landscapes not only in this country, but across the globe.
You are not immune to this change. For example, Artificial Intelligence will remove many repetitive, and non-challenging jobs. The call center and online service centers have been downsized dramatically. We need to educate and inform ourselves to avoid the risk going in this type of industry that is soon obsolete.
So invest yourself in the areas which require creativity and passion. Make sure those jobs will not be easily displaced by robot and AI.
Please take care of yourself, find new friends, and pursue the purpose of the life. It can be long. It can be complicated. It can have set-backs. However, never ever lose hope and call home often for support.
Finally, congratulations. The New World is waiting for you!
Photo credit to Deb Jung, Howard County Council Member District Four.
This is the presentation delivered to the school board by Mr. Mark Blom, General Counsel. He presented this at the National School Boards Association’s annual conference on Promoting Student Diversity through Student Assignment Initiatives.
I would like to tell a story: A poor family had five kids. One year, there was a shortage of food because of the natural disaster. They had to make a tough choice:
Every family member had less food and work through the tough year together.
Give two children to other families such that with less people they can have more food for each remaining family member.
This was a true story happened in my “Wu” family two generations ago. Due to severe food shortage, one of my grandfather’s brother was given to another family and even changed his family name. It was 70 years ago. My great grandparents regretted that decision when the family condition changed for better later. Now all of them experienced that passed away.
Now 70 years later in Howard County, we are facing a very tough budget shortfall. At the same time, we are facing a tough choice. Are we going to surplus our teachers out, who are our best assets and make our classrooms even more crowded, or all of us stay together and find a way to get through the tough time? Or every stakeholder shares the burden collectively?
Wednesday afternoon’s work session on the FY2020 school budget was tough. After the discussion, here are some highlights:
After the discussion, increasing class size by 2 and surplusing teachers (123.7 cut: elementary technology teacher from 62.2 to 42; music teacher from 52 to 26; GT elementary from 79.5 to 42; GT middle from 60 to 20) and para-educators (104 cut: elementary paraeducator from 216 to 132; middle school math paraeducator cut 15, middle school reading paraeducator, cut 5), are on-hold with a 10 million dollars deficit. There are a small number hiring increase (para-educator) in several areas too because of cutting teachers.
At the same time, we are increasing the health care deficit with another 7 million dollars to 44 million dollars next year. We are creating an operating budget deficit for FY2021 since we are using a 10 million fund balance to fund incurring operating cost.
We are not able put extra fund on the student mental health and well-being, restorative and inclusive support. program innovation, deferred maintenance and balancing capacity and changing school start time.
We are now waiting for the county council to give us extra 10 million dollars if they can.
The school budget discussion will be difficult for this year and many years forward.
There have been continuous investigations/discussions on the school start time over the years. The cost of implementing a new high school start time later varies a lot. Here is a summary for various proposals. The starting time proposals ( elementary, middle and high) are different from one to another.
The difficult part for this discussion is “what is the better school start time and what is the cost”. I will continue engage in this conversation and put our student’s health and growth in the center of the focus.
The following cost is the extra money we need spend on the current $40 million dollars school transportation budget.
In the 2014-02-20 report, the estimated cost is $20 million dollars (high schools start at 8:15).
In the 2015-06-11 report, the estimated cost is 13.8 million dollars.
In the 2015-10-22 report, four models were discussed.
Model 2 costed extra 9.3 million dollars,
Model 3 costed extra 12.6 million dollars,
Model 4 costed extra 4 million dollars.
Model 5 costed extra 12 million dollars.
In the 2016-11-17 report, four new models were discussed (all four models start elementary schools at 7:30-7:45. There were the four models where I established a parent group and testified on behalf of them ):
Model 1 costed extra 1.7 million dollars.
Model 2 costed extra 0.9 million dollars.
Model 3 costed extra 5.3 million dollars.
Model 4 costed extra 3 million dollars.
In the 2017-12-19 report, four models were discussed (All start after 8:00)
Model 1 costed extra 6.3 million dollars.
Model 2 costed extra 7.62 million dollars.
Model 3 costed extra 9.3 million dollars.
Model 4 costed extra 8.36 million dollars.
Here is the list of usual historical documents for your info.
This article represents only my personal view. It does not represent the Howard County Board of Education. This article was revised by Tess Yu.
It has been a totally new experience for me after winning the election in November 2018. I have strived to work hard for our students, parents, and school system from this important position. I read all the documents and prepared for board meetings, joined many community and school activities, and visited many schools in my cluster.
This is my first attempt to write an open and quarterly letter to communicate with our community members on what has happened in our school system.
The first large and most important agenda came to the board was the HCPSS 2020 operating budget. HCPSS superintendent Dr.Michael Martirano proposed a nearly $1 billion, comprehensive school budget aligned with his “A Strategic Call to Action,” which defined the needs and priorities for our school system as determined by Dr. Martirano. During the budget discussion,I realized that HCPSS was not able to provide sufficient resources to support our students due to budget constraints, among other things, that have occurred in the past. On Feb. 19, 2019, the BOE board approved the school budget after six work sessions. The budget is now under the county government and county council’s hands for evaluation and approval. Here are some of my take-aways from the work sessions:
After the whole process, I believe the budgeting process needs improvement. For example, without knowing how much HCPSS will receive, the school already signed contracts with several parties. We promise many programs and contracts without money at hand. The superintendent, the BOE, the county council and the county government need figure out a better way to work together on the timeline of the budget in the future. An earlier negotiated range of budget increase/decrease will be better for the budget process. It will reduce the pressure on our staff to manage the whole progress, detailed budget book and a following-years’ planning.
At the end, the board and the community have to realize that we are not able to afford many services we have before. The state legislature created a formula which does not favor our county in terms of funding. The local economy is growing slow and highly relies on the property taxes and personal income taxes, and our county tax is the third highest in Maryland. For people living in Columbia, there is an extra 0.67% annual charge too. Our county needs find a way to attract more business and diversify its’ revenue channel.
Our need in the school is changing. Every year, we are going to see another extra 800-1000 students into the school system. Among the new enrollment, about 20% students are students with special needs while right now on average around 10% HCPSS students are of special need. In the last several years, the percentage of Free and Reduced Meal (FARM) student population is increasing, now reaching around 22%. We need more resources and a more efficient and effective method to support our special needs students and low-income students while maintaining a robust academic curriculum for our students. We need a partnership with the community members to address this fast changing scenario. I also see technology and innovation can help to improve the delivery of our education service to our students.
Our employee health care cost is facing two pressures. One is from the existing 37 million dollars’ deficit accumulated over the last several years. The other is the quick increase (over 10%) per year, which means more than 10 million dollars increase each year for the moment. I have already advocated that we should look at more flexible health care plans for our employee and other ways to curb the quick increase of health care cost.
Others in the agenda
The board approved the schematic design on High School 13 on Mission Road, which is set to open in2023.
The board also approved the renovation plan for Hammond High School, which is set to finish in2022.
The board is interested in another comprehensive redistricting due to several crowded schools. We are going to hire a consultant company to do the work. The HCPSS feasibility study will come out in June, the Area Attendance Committee will start to work in in summer and the board will host public forum on this infall. The new changes, should they happen, will take place in 2020 fall.
The board is also interested in the “starting high school later” initiative.
The board is working with the county to install “STOP” sign camera on our school bus. On average every day, there are 290 drivers who do not stop while our school bus is stopping on the road. This is a great safety hazard for our students.
Thanks for reading.
Dr. Chao Wu, Board Member Howard County Board of Education
The markup copy includes original language from the current policy. The charter for the committee was presented to the Board on May 4, 2017; an update report was conveyed to the Board on May 3, 2018; the committee’s recommendation was submitted to the Superintendent’s Cabinet on February 11, 2019; and a public hearing will be held on April 11, 2019.
Here is the policy for you to review. Public hearing is on April 11, 2019. The board welcomes your feedback at email@example.com.
This is a summary for people to understand the current budget quickly.
I am a little disappointed that redistricting tool and transportation routing are in the optional category. I am glad they are included in the budget with my push, but they are still not receiving enough support. Starting high school late, bus route optimization and student safety, school redistricting require us to have the necessary tool and software to get it right. Without the right data to support, it is hard to make the right decision.
Here is an article “Why UPS drivers do not make a left turn” https://www.businessinsider.com/ups-efficiency-secret-our-trucks-never-turn-left-2011-3.