Board Approves Annual Growth Policy Resolution

October 10, 2007
Board Approves Resolution on Annual Growth Policy, Reviews Update on Secondary Learning Center Transition Project, and Reviews Update on Demographic and Enrollment Trends

The Board of Education met on Tuesday (October 9) and, among other items, approved a resolution on the Annual Growth Policy for Montgomery County and discussed an update on demographic and enrollment trends in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).The Board also discussed an update on the secondary learning center transition project and participated in a discussion of budget priorities. The Board voted to approve the Comprehensive Master Plan and approved guidelines for recognition of MCPS and community achievements. The Board approved an administrative appointment and recognized the observance of American Indian Heritage Month and National Bus Safety Week. Winners of the Mark Mann Excellence and Harmony Award also were recognized. The Board also urged employees to participate in the annual Montgomery County Public Schools Charity Campaign. The Board also approved a request for a regulation regarding outside audits.

Update on CIP/Enrollment

The Board participated in a presentation on trends and forecasts in student enrollment size and patterns in MCPS and how these factors relate to building and modernizing schools, the use of portable classrooms, and other issues. (See separate news release for more information.)

Annual Growth Policy Resolution

The Board approved a resolution supporting the 2007 Planning Board recommendations for a County growth policy school test. The test would use MCPS program capacity as the basis for collecting school facilities payment from developers when cluster facility use is over 110 percent and imposing a residential development moratorium on construction when cluster facility use is over 135 percent. If the County Council eliminates the school facility payment from consideration, the Board recommended that the moratorium be imposed when cluster facility use is over 110 percent. The Board also requested the Council to place the school facility payment revenue in the general fund, not in separate funds that apply only to the cluster where the revenue payment is collected. In addition, the Board encouraged the Council to explore all possible revenue enhancements that can provide adequate financing for school and other county capital needs. The resolution will be forwarded to the County Council, the county executive, Planning Board, and mayors and councils of Montgomery County municipalities.

Update on Secondary Learning Center Transition Project

The Board discussed the transition of students with disabilities from secondary learning centers to their home schools during this first year of a six-year plan to phase out the centers. The plan to phase out the centers was included in the FY 2008 operating budget, passed by the Board last February. The plan has several goals:
• Improving the academic performance of students with disabilities.
• Increasing the number of students with disabilities educated in the least restrictive environment.
• Addressing the overrepresentation of African American and Hispanic students in the secondary learning centers.
Preliminary findings indicate that there has been a smooth and positive school opening regarding positive peer relations, transportation, schedules and staffing; however, the transition will continue to be monitored.

Discussion on Budget Priorities

Board President Nancy Navarro, on behalf of the Board of Education, will send a letter to the County Council and the Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families, inviting them to participate in a review of the strategic plan supporting the Children’s Agenda and a shared vision to aid families and student learning.

Final Approval of the Comprehensive Master Plan

The Board approved the updated Montgomery County Public Schools Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act—Comprehensive Master Plan for 2007, fulfilling the requirement for local school systems to submit annual updates of their five-year comprehensive master plans to the Maryland State Department of Education. The Board also voted to write a letter to the state superintendent requesting that the State accept the Board’s strategic plan in lieu of a separate comprehensive master plan.

Recognition of MCPS and Community Achievements

The Board approved guidelines recommended by the Communications and Public Engagement Committee for recognizing achievements of students and staff, as well as education-related accomplishments of community groups.


The Board approved the following administrative appointment:
Meredith L. Mirkow, currently instructional specialist, Secondary English/Language Arts, Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs, as administrative assistant to the chief technology officer, Office of the Chief Technology Officer

American Indian Heritage Month

The Board approved the observance of American Indian Heritage Month in November in recognition of the many contributions made by American Indians to enhance the freedom, prosperity, and greatness of America today.

National Bus Safety Week

The Board proclaimed October 22-26, 2007, as National Bus Safety Week, in recognition of the importance of a safe and pleasant ride to and from school in fostering a high level of learning and success. The Board expressed its continued support for the MCPS Ride by the Rules safety campaign for school bus riders, pedestrians, and drivers.

Superintendent’s Annual Mark Mann Excellence and Harmony Award

The Board recognized the winners of the Mark Mann Excellence and Harmony Award. This year, two outstanding principals won the award—Lance Dempsey, principal of Shady Grove Middle School, and Lee Derby, current principal of Cedar Grove Elementary School. Derby won for his work at Garrett Park Elementary School, where he was principal for five years. The award honors Dr. Mark Mann, former principal of Parkland Junior High School, who died in l988.

Montgomery County Employees Charity Campaign

The Board encouraged employee participation in the 2007 Montgomery County Public Schools Charity Campaign, scheduled for October 22 through November 16, 2007. In partnership with the three employee representative organizations, this year's charity campaign gives employees the option of contributing to four charities—the Montgomery County United Way, the Union Community Fund, the Montgomery County Community Foundation, and the Montgomery Alliance. Last year, employees contributed approximately $185,000 through the campaign.

Outside Audit Projects

The Board approved a resolution directing the superintendent to develop regulations regarding a review process in which the Board is informed about the alignment of outside audit projects with the pertinent requirements of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Board of Education: Mrs. Nancy Navarro, president. Ms. Shirley Brandman, vice president. Members: Mr. Steve Abrams, Mr. Christopher Barclay, Ms. Sharon Cox, Dr. Judy Docca, Mrs. Patricia B. O’Neill, and Mr. Ben Moskowitz, student member. Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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