Board Approves $9 Million MS Magnet Grant Proposal

March 10, 2004
The Board of Education met on Tuesday [March 9] and, among other items, approved tentative contract agreements with two employee associations. The Board also approved the submission of a grant proposal for middle school magnet programs. Also approved were twelve pilot courses to support signature and academy programs and a plan for an updated technology system for financial information. In addition, the Board approved fees for summer school, adult education, GED, and evening high school. The Board also discussed improvements in the ESOL/Bilingual program, requested a boundary study for three middle schools, and discussed a presentation by the president of Montgomery College on access to higher education. The Board also approved positions on legislative items pending before the Maryland General Assembly.

Tentative Contract Agreements

The Board approved a $20.7 million amendment to the Fiscal Year 2005 operating budget request that would fund tentative contract agreements featuring a 2-percent increase in salaries next year for teachers and supporting services staff. The Board also set aside funds for an increase next year in salaries for administrative and supervisory personnel, pending the completion of their ongoing employee association negotiations.

Magnet School Grant Proposal

The Board authorized the submission of a federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant application for $9 million for development and implementation of whole-school magnet programs at Argyle, Belt, and Parkland middle schools.

Non-Core Courses for Signature and Academy Programs

The Board approved twelve pilot courses that would support and extend local school signature and academy programs. Development of the courses follows established procedures under Regulation IFA-RA, Curriculum.

Financial Information System

The Board supported a joint procurement with the County government to define the needs and requirements for replacing the outdated MCPS Financial Information System (FIS) with a user-friendly Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The Board approved placing the replacement project in the multiyear budget plan and, depending on the availability of funds and the fiscal outlook for Fiscal Year 2006, committed to funding the ERP.

Fees for Summer School, Adult Education, GED, and Evening High School

The Board approved a Fiscal Year 2005 fee schedule for summer school, adult education, GED, and evening high school. The summer school portion of the enterprise fund was terminated and its funding moved to the tax-supported operating budget with local funding to pay the difference between the full fee and the reduced fee for qualifying families. Summer school full fee for revenue-based programs will be increased by $10 ($260 to $270 for elementary courses and from $225 and $235 to $235 and $245 for high school core and non-core courses, respectively). The summer school reduced fee for revenue-based programs will be increased by $5 (from $50 and $85 to $55 and $90, depending on income level). Summer school non-enterprise programs will add middle school courses and high school Essentials of Algebra and charge a $60 fee. The remaining summer school, adult education, GED, and evening high school fee structures will be maintained at the Fiscal Year 2004 level.

Update on ESOL Programs

The Board discussed restructuring and improvements to the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)/Bilingual programs to provide high-quality instructional programs for the growing and increasingly diverse ESOL student population. Improvements center on a rigorous instructional program, professional development, assessment and monitoring of achievement, and collaboration and continuous improvement.

Presentation by Montgomery College President

Dr. Charlene Nunley, president of Montgomery College, made a presentation to the Board, stating that access to higher education is at risk for all students since demand is greater than space available.

Boundary Study

The Board requested that a recommendation for a boundary study be made by November to address the underutilization of Farquhar Middle School and that the scope of the study include White Oak and Francis Scott Key middle schools.

Items of Legislation

The Board voted its positions on items of legislation regarding education issues that are pending before the Maryland General Assembly.

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