May 22, 2013
MSDE recently released its revised draft calculations for the Major State Aid Programs for Fiscal Year 2014. Tables listed below provide revised calculations for education funding including those figures used to determine wealth, total enrollment, and per pupil amounts. They include adjustments for legislation passed during the 2013 session and provide a county-by-county breakdown for each component of education funding.
- April 19, 2013 Revised Calculations for Major State Aid Programs-Summary
- Enrollment for Calculating the Foundation Program
- Wealth for Calculating the Foundation Program
- Per Pupil Amounts
- Foundation Program
- Transportation Aid
- State Compensatory Education
- Limited English Proficient
- Special Education
- Guaranteed Tax Base Program
- Supplemental Grants Program
- Revised Summary of Major State Aid Programs Based on NTI (net the 5-202(i) Grant)
- Net Taxable Income Adjustment
- BRFA 5-202(i) Grants
- Difference from Fiscal Year 2014 Preliminary DRAFT Calculations (January 18, 2013)
- Difference from Fiscal Year 2013 Fiscal calculations (June 22, 2012)
May 22, 2013
A recent article in the Des Moines Register (limited free views available online) highlighted Maryland’s public school achievement, and drew comparisons and contrasts with the schools in Iowa.
From the article online:
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has pushed for wide-ranging K-12 education reforms to reverse the slide. But as the General Assembly heads toward likely adjournment this week, legislation remains stalled.
Iowa Education Director Jason Glass and other reform supporters point to Maryland as a possible model for how Iowa can overhaul its system to boost student achievement.
“They put the right reforms in place, stuck with them and then worked to continually improve, never being satisfied with the results,” said Linda Fandel, a Branstad education adviser.
Iowa has tried education reforms in fits and starts over the past two decades. Policymakers tinkered with teacher pay, funneled money into professional development and lowered class sizes. The moves have largely failed to improve student test scores, education leaders acknowledge today.
“They weren’t systemic (changes),” Glass said. “As soon as the political will or the money ran out, those programs vanished.”
Read the full article from the Des Moines Register.
May 16, 2013
Garrett County Administrator R. Lamont Pagenhardt recently responded to letter from the County Board of Education. The “Open Letter to the Citizens of Garrett County” depicted a strained fiscal climate and included a request for the Garrett County Commissioners to meet with the Board of Education in public session and to provide budgetary commitments for “2015 and beyond.”
Administrator Pagenhardt’s response begins with an acknowledgement and agreement of the difficulty of the present fiscal climate. He then suggests the following steps for collaboration:
- The charter and formation of a multidisciplinary advisory board with members from the County Departments of Financial Services and Economic Development, Garrett College administrative staff, Garrett County Public School System administrative staff, you, and me.
- The task of this advisory board would be to develop a range of specific proposals for addressing the fiscal strain on the Garrett County Public School System and the economic predictions for Garrett County Government over the short and long-term.
- Our respective Boards should be updated during our administrative review. The combined evaluation and finalization of these proposals by the Board of County Commissioners and the Board of Education will be presented in public forum to allow for public commentary and a definitive plan for immediate implementation.
This past legislative session, MACo supported a bill, HB1459, that would have required annual meetings between representatives of county boards of education and county government to discuss opportunities for cost-savings. HB 1459 had a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee on March 15, 2013, but did not proceed further.
For more information on this topic, see the letter from Administrator Pagenhardt or our previous post on Conduit Street, 2013 End of Session Wrap Up: Education
May 16, 2013
The Wicomico County Council held a public hearing this week on County Executive Pollitt’s proposed fiscal year 2014 budget. The budget, which must be finalized by June 1, totals $127 million.
As reported by the Salisbury Daily Times:
As part of the proposed budget, the real property tax would increase by about 8 percent.
Pollitt also plans to pull $3.6 million from the reserve fund for one-time projects.
The proposed budget spends $10 million more than during fiscal year 2013, with the majority of expenses going to education and public safety.
Specifically, public schools, Wor-Wic Community College, the public library, extension services and school debt make up 44 percent of the budget in the education category.
Public safety and health — which includes the courts system, Sheriff’s Office, prosecutor’s office, emergency services and several other departments— makes up another 30 percent.
May 16, 2013
An recent editorial in Governing draws into question the value of school boards. As described by the author, the idea of eliminating school boards has been circulated over the past few years, and may be increasing in popularity.
Advocates contend that the school board structure gives communities a direct voice in governance and that members are held accountable through the election process. But there’s an increasing sense among others that it may be time to eliminate school boards altogether. The idea has crossed party lines. The Center for American Progress is a generally liberal institution, but Chester Finn, president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute and a former assistant education secretary under President Ronald Reagan, has issued similar decrees. “School boards are an aberration, an anachronism, an education sinkhole,” he said in 2006. “Put this dysfunctional arrangement out of its misery.”
The author suggests alternative educational governance structures to the current school board system, including local government control and charter schools.
This year in Maryland the General Assembly passed the Prince George’s County – School System – Academic Revitalization and Management Effectiveness Initiative PG 411-13. The new law grants the County Executive of Prince George’s County and the Prince George’s County Council the authority to appointment certain members of the county school board, including the chair and vice chair of the board. It also establishes that the Prince George’s County Executive shall select the Chief Executive Officer of the Prince George’s County public school system, and authorizes the Chief Executive Officer to consolidate schools under certain circumstances.
For more commentary on this topic, see the complete editorial from Governing.
May 16, 2013
As reported in the Baltimore Business Journal, the greater Baltimore business community may feel a negative effect from the Baltimore City School Chief’s early departure. According to the editorial,
Donald Manekin, a developer who served as the school system’s chief operating officer from 2000-2002, says the answer can be found in the classroom.
“Businesses are ultimately the recipient of these graduates,” he said Monday, still a little in shock that Alonso announced his June 30 departure Monday morning. . . . Manekin, who served under schools CEO Carmen V. Russo, said the business community now has the responsibility of helping select the new CEO, welcome him or her and create partnerships with the new schools chief.
For more information, see the full story from the Baltimore Business Journal.
May 16, 2013
Howard County recently launched a new program to counter the threat of cyber bullying.
A key piece of the program is an online program and mobile application for reporting bullying, tailored for use in Howard County. Through the app, children and others can anonymously report bullying where it happens, and reports will be delivered in real time to designated representatives in participating departments, agencies and groups such as libraries, schools and others. Use of the service is being donated by the California-based company that founded it. While it has been used in school systems nationwide, this is the first time it is being applied in a community setting.
County Executive Ulman says of the initiative, “We are taking the same technology that has the potential to be harmful to kids, through cyberbullying, and using it to help.”
For more information, see the full press release and video from Howard County.
May 10, 2013
As reported by Homeroom, the official blog of the US Department of Education, some rural teachers are receiving web-based guidance through a large-scale distance coaching study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Department’s Institute for Education Sciences funds the study through a five-year grant.
Homeroom describes how the guidance works,
Inside a classroom at Chantry Elementary School in the small town of Malvern, Iowa, four 1st grade students are gathered around a table facing Becky Curtis. She is teaching them to read. It appears to be a traditional reading intervention class. However, they are not alone.
A state away in Omaha, Nebraska, Mrs. Patty Smith is observing the small group via WebEx software and a webcam on an open laptop sitting on a table behind the students. Occasionally Mrs. Smith speaks with Ms. Curtis through a small listening device. The technology is allowing Mrs. Smith to communicate, see and hear the students’ responses and their teacher’s instruction.
For more information on this program, see the full story from Homeroom. For information on 2014 funding opportunities from the Institute of Education Sciences see their website.
May 10, 2013
Eight Frederick County Elementary Schools will be honored next week for their recycling efforts from September 2012 through March 2013. The recycling rates were tallied by assessing the weight of the recyclable materials collected from each site, divided by the number of recyclers (staff and students) present in each school. Announced by the Department of Solid Waste Management (DSWM), the top eight of the 37 schools that participated are:
- Emmitsburg Elementary, 38.36 pounds recycled per person this school year
- Woodsboro Elementary, 36.06 pounds
- Ballenger Creek Elementary, 25.53 pounds
- Thurmont Primary, 23.57 pounds
- Orchard Grove Elementary, 22.99 pounds
- Wolfsville Elementary, 22.58 pounds
- Liberty Elementary, 20.90 pounds
- Waverley Elementary, 20.82 pounds
From Frederick County’s press release:
To recognize the efforts of these schools, each facility will be awarded a school-wide assembly for all staff and students. The program is an interactive performance by a professional magician whose act incorporates a theme of “The Magic of Recycling!” This prize, made possible by an educational grant from Waste Management Recycle America, supports the county’s goal of encouraging students and school staff to examine waste issues and continue their efforts to recycle more and waste less.
All public schools in Frederick County may participate in the single-stream recycling program. For more information about local waste reduction and recycling programs for youth, please visit Frederick County’s DSWM website.
May 6, 2013
As featured in the Washington Post, Greg Anrig of The Century Foundation, a non-profit research organization based in Washington D.C. recently set forth the theory that struggling schools can make improvements by collaboration between labor and management. In his post, Anrig references studies by the Consortium on Chicago School Research and the National Center for Educational Achievement, and management studies from the manufacturing and health care fields.
Anrig highlights the importance of trust and collaboration between stakeholders in education based on his review of research. For example, he cities the Consortium on Chicago School Research’s finding of five pillars of successful schools:
1. a coherent instructional guidance system, in which the curriculum, study materials, pedagogical strategies, and assessments are coordinated within and across grades with meaningful teacher input;
2. an effective system to improve professional capacity, including making teachers’ classroom work public for examination by colleagues and external consultants to enable ongoing support and guidance to teachers;
3. strong parent-community-school ties, which closely integrate the network of people focused on enabling each student to learn;
4. a student-centered learning climate that identifies and responds to particular difficulties any child may be encountering; and
5. leadership focused on cultivating a growing cadre of stakeholders (teachers, parents, and community members) who become invested in sharing overall responsibility for the school’s improvement.
For more information, see the full post in the Post or read more about the cited studies, Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago, and The 20 Non-Negotiable Characteristics of Higher Performing School Systems