THE HUB - Feature Article

  • BOE Adopts $1.2 Billion Operating Budget Request, $216M Capital Budget Request for FY2019

    Posted by Melvin Edwards on 2/22/2018

    The Board of Education added 51.8 positions to Superintendent George Arlotto’s budget recommendation, passing a $1.2 billion Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget request that contains 27 additional teaching positions and additional compensation increases for all employees.

    Through a series of amendments, the Board boosted the number of classroom teachers to reduce class sizes and the number of additional special education teaching positions. It also added to the number of requested school counselors, school psychologists, and social worker to address the social and emotional needs of students. The Board also increased cost-of-living increases that would be allocated to all school system employees from 1 percent to 2 percent.

    The request adopted by the Board includes 290.5 positions, approximately 95 percent of which would be allocated for teachers and others who have daily contact with students, and provide every school system employee with a compensation increase. More than 217 of those positions would be teaching positions, 106 of which would address continued enrollment increases and 45 more of which would help reduce rising class sizes. Another 30 teachers would be added for English Language Acquisition classes, 12.5 more would be used to expand the Enhancing Elementary Excellence (Triple-E) program to nine elementary schools in the Annapolis cluster, and 23 additional positions would address the needs of special education students. Another 6.3 teaching positions would be used to help open the Carrie Weedon Early Education Center in south county next year.

    The Board’s request also includes $27.3 million for compensation increases. Pending the outcome of negotiations with employee bargaining units, that would be sufficient to provide step increases to all eligible employees, commensurate increases to non-represented employees, and a 2 percent cost-of-living increase to all employees.

    More than $850,000 in the Board’s request would go to boost pay for substitute teachers by $10 per day. Substitute teacher compensation has not been increased in more than 15 years.

    The request also includes $3 million for 29.2 positions to help address increasing issues related to the social and emotional wellness of students. Those include 14.4 school counselors, 8 social workers, 5.8 school psychologists, and one pupil personnel worker.

    More than $3 million in the Board’s request is allocated to the expansion of the Monarch Academy Annapolis Public Contract School and needs at other charter and contract schools across the county. Monarch Annapolis’ base enrollment is scheduled to rise from 530 to 638 students next year.

    In its recommendation, the Board also included:

    • $274,680 for four additional bilingual facilitators to undertake the critical work of collaborating with families.
    • $1 million to continue the fiber ring expansion, a collaborative project with the County Government designed to increase high-speed internet access.

    CAPITAL BUDGET REQUEST

    The Board adopted Dr. Arlotto’s $216 million capital budget recommendation without making any changes, allocating funding to nine major school construction projects, in priority order:

    • Manor View Elementary School ($3.8 million)
    • High Point Elementary School ($4.5 million)
    • George Cromwell Elementary School ($15.6 million)
    • Jessup Elementary School ($7.9 million)
    • Arnold Elementary School ($6.7 million)
    • Edgewater Elementary School ($19.7 million)
    • Tyler Heights Elementary School ($18.2 million)
    • Richard Henry Lee Elementary School ($16.9 million)
    • Crofton Area High School ($54.8 million)

    The capital budget recommendation also contains $7.5 million for prekindergarten and kindergarten additions at Maryland City and Riviera Beach elementary schools, and $10 million for classroom additions at Marley and Solley elementary schools, and a gymnasium and program addition at Glen Burnie Park Elementary School.

    The budgets will be forwarded to County Executive Steve Schuh by March 1. Mr. Schuh will include funding for the school system in his proposed FY2019 budgets, which will be released May 1.

    Comments (-1)
  • BOE Announces Opportunities for Public Input about Two Redistricting Processes

    Posted by Melvin Edwards on 2/15/2018

    The Board of Education recently announced its schedule of public briefings, public hearings, and upcoming votes regarding the redistricting processes now under way in the west county and north county areas.

    The Board is considering a recommendation from Superintendent George Arlotto to shift students who live in the Maryland City Elementary School attendance zone from MacArthur Middle School to Meade Middle School, effective in the 2018-2019 school year. Those students would continue to attend Meade High School. Current seventh-graders at MacArthur Middle School who live in the Maryland City Elementary School attendance zone would have the option of remaining at MacArthur Middle School for their eighth-grade year.

    The plan is identical to that recommended by a committee of community residents.

    Dr. Arlotto’s other proposal would take effect in the 2020-2021 school year. It would shift kindergarten students from the Ferndale Early Education Center to the newly revitalized George Cromwell Elementary School and also move prekindergarten students from Hilltop Elementary School to Ferndale.

    The plan is nearly identical to that recommended by a committee of community residents.

    The Board has announced the following schedule with respect to both processes:

    MARYLAND CITY REDISTRICTING PROPOSAL

    • Community briefing on Dr. Arlotto’s recommendations, 7 p.m., February 27, 2018, Meade Middle School. This meeting will provide an overview of both plans and allow attendees to ask questions, but no public testimony will be taken.
    • Public hearings on proposal, 7 p.m., March 6, 2018, at North County High School and 7 p.m., March 13, 2018, at Meade Middle School. Testimony on both plans will be taken at both hearings.
    • Board of Education vote on redistricting proposal, 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 18, 2018. No public testimony will be taken at this meeting.

    CROMWELL/FERNDALE/HILLTOP REDISTRICTING PROPOSAL

    • Community briefing on Dr. Arlotto’s recommendations, 7 p.m., February 20, 2018, North County High School. This meeting will provide an overview of both plans and allow attendees to ask questions, but no public testimony will be taken.
    • Public hearings on proposal, 7 p.m., March 6, 2018, at North County High School and 7 p.m., March 13, 2018, at Meade Middle School. Testimony on both plans will be taken at both hearings.
    • Board of Education vote on redistricting proposal, 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 18, 2018. No public testimony will be taken at this meeting.

    More information on the redistricting process and both plans can be found on the AACPS website.

    Comments (-1)
  • February is Career and Technology Education Month

    Posted by Melvin Edwards on 2/6/2018

    BALTIMORE  – Governor Larry Hogan has issued a proclamation recognizing February as National Career and Technical Education (CTE) month.  High schools and community colleges throughout the State of Maryland will be celebrating CTE Month to promote their programs and spotlight their students’ successes. 

    Today’s CTE classrooms are modern-day laboratories, where students and educators alike are developing the skills needed to fuel Maryland’s future workforce and thriving economy.  Guided by industry leaders and implemented by highly trained teachers and faculty, CTE programs in health and biosciences, manufacturing and engineering, construction, and cybersecurity are among those that are in high demand in the State.  These fields are also among the fastest growing occupations that require specialized technical education for candidates to qualify for employment.

    “Maryland’s Career and Technical Education programs provide our students with the skills necessary to compete in today’s 21st century workforce,” said Governor Hogan. “This month highlights the importance of training more Marylanders in these rapidly growing fields, which leads to more job opportunities for workers, a steady pipeline of highly-trained employees, and continued economic growth for our state.”

    Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, said that today’s CTE programs prepare students to be both career- and college-ready.

    “Students engage in CTE programs leading to high-wage, high-demand careers where they can earn industry-recognized credentials and receive early college credit,” Dr. Salmon said.  “They are planning their futures and participating in CTE programs to achieve their goals.”

    “The CTE students that I encounter when I visit schools always impress me,” said Dr. Lynne Gilli, Assistant State Superintendent for the Division of Career and College Readiness.  “Students are able to mirror the skills that are highly valued by employers.  They exhibit professional behaviors, they demonstrate technical skills, and they communicate effectively while working in teams.”

    Maryland’s CTE students also have opportunities to participate in organizations such as SkillsUSA, FBLA, DECA, or FFA and are finding success in both the state and national competitions.  These organizations help build students’ leadership skills, hone their employability skills, and prepare them for further education once they graduate.  As an added bonus, nearly every CTE program connects to a similar community college program which makes it possible for students to readily transition from high school to college.

    To learn more about CTE programs in Maryland, visit www.mdcteprograms.org.

    Comments (-1)
  • Anne Arundel School Board Approves Quarterly Assessment Policy Change

    Posted by Selene San Felice, The Capital on 2/1/2018

    Underclassmen taking AP or IB exams will still have to take their fourth quarterly assessments next year, as decided by a school board vote on Wednesday night.

    The board voted unanimously to amend a policy that previously allowed all students taking Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams to skip their fourth quarterly assessment. The policy will now only apply to 12th graders starting in the 2018-2019 school year.

    After the board reviewed the policy in December, it was posted online and was available for public comment. No one made a comment in the 30 days it was posted, according to AACPS spokesman Bob Mosier. No public comment was made at Wednesday’s meeting.

    The board reviewed the policy again in its Jan. 10 meeting, and reviewed it once again before voting Wednesday night.

    “In the discussion about how to get students to master the topic at hand, we went away from such high stakes testing,” Mosier said.

    AP and IB exams fall in the middle of the fourth 9-week marking period for underclassmen, while seniors usually only have about a week left after AP and IB exams.

    “The rationale is that there is no high stakes testing now in the quarterlies, so that isn’t an issue. Since (underclassmen) students are still learning and being given work, they should be tested on that work,” Mosier said.

    As the sign-up process for next school year’s AP and IB courses has begun across the county, Mosier says students will be made aware of the policy change before they sign up.

    In the 2017-2018 school year, 8,344 students enrolled in AP or IB courses, with seniors make up about 75 percent of that. Mosier expects enrollment numbers will be about the same for the 2018-2019 school year.

    Comments (-1)