Board Discusses Budget Reductions; Changes to Pensions, Future Retiree Health Benefits

May 26, 2011
The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Monday, May 23, and took tentative action on the Fiscal Year 2012 Operating Budget. The Board approved changes to the MCPS Employees’ Pension Plan and retiree health benefits plan. The Board recognized winners of the 2011 Champions for Children Awards, Asian American Education Association Scholarship Recipients, MCPS higher education partnerships, and winners of MCPS Counselor of the Year awards.

Tentative Action on the Fiscal Year 2012 Operating Budget
The Board tentatively adopted the MCPS FY 2012 Operating Budget, with additional changes based on reductions adopted by the County Council. On May 26, 2011 the Council approved a total of $2,086,786,613 for the MCPS FY 2012 Operating Budget—a decrease of $17,401,427 from the current FY 2011 Operating Budget. Based on specific changes identified by the Council, the Board-approved budget includes the elimination of funds for salary steps and longevity increases; reducing staff, and reducing contributions to the Retiree Health Benefit Trust Fund, employee benefit costs, and the instructional television special revenue fund. The amount to be approved by the County Council is $127.1 million less than required by the state Maintenance of Effort law. The Board of Education is expected to pass a final budget on June 16. Read the Memo to the Board and the Board’s amendment to the Superintendent’s recommendation

MCPS Employees’ Pension Plan Changes
The Board of Education approved changes to the MCPS Employees’ Pension Plan that parallel changes to the Maryland State Teachers’ Pension System made by the Maryland General Assembly. The changes reduce benefits provided to employees hired after July 1, 2011, but preserve benefits approved in 2006 for current employees. They also increase mandatory employee contributions to 7 percent for all participants beginning July 1, 2011. The cost-of-living adjustment for benefits based on service earned after July 1, 2011, will be subject to the Consumer Price Index, with a cap of 2 percent. Similar to employees in the state pension system, individuals hired on or after July 1, 2011, who receive their core benefit from the MCPS Employees’ Pension Plan will be subject to 10-year vesting (an increase from the current five years); an average final salary based on the five highest consecutive years (an increase from the current three years); benefit multiplier of 1.5 percent (a decrease from the current 1.8 percent); as well as other significant changes. The MCPS Employee and Retiree Services Center will be communicating directly with employees about these changes in the coming days. Learn more about the changes

Retiree Health Benefit Changes
The Board approved amendments to the retiree health benefits plan effective July 1, 2011. The changes were made to continue the viability of the district’s retiree health benefits and save taxpayer dollars. Current retirees and employees hired prior to July 1, 2006, would not be affected. New MCPS employees hired after July 1, 2011, plus most current employees hired since July 1, 2006, could pay a higher percentage of the cost of health benefits. (Employees hired since July 1, 2006, who are over age 55 or who reach 30 or more years of credited service would continue to pay the current retiree health cost share of 36 percent.) The new cost sharing formula, based on years of MCPS service, is consistent with what other Maryland jurisdictions provide for retiree benefits. Retirees would be required to have a minimum of 10 years of service with MCPS to qualify for retiree health benefits. The new structure is:
  • 10–15 years of service: Retiree share 60 percent
  • 15–20 years of service: Retiree share 50 percent
  • 20 or more years of service: Retiree share 36 percent

Feasibility Study for New Bethesda-Chevy Chase Middle School
The Board approved the hiring of an architect to conduct a feasibility study for a new middle school in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster. The site for the new school, Rock Creek Hills Local Park, is owned by the school district and formerly housed a school. A new Bethesda-Chevy Chase middle school is expected to be a part of the 2013-2018 Capital Improvement Program.  

Retirement of Montgomery County Public Schools Personnel
The Board expressed its appreciation for the performance and dedication of MCPS employees who are retiring or retired during the past year. Read the resolution

Human Resources Appointments
The Board approved the appointments of the following administrators:
  • Heather L. Jones, currently Pre-K–12 content specialist, Department of Curriculum and Instructional, as supervisor, Elementary Integrated Curriculum Team, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Edward C. Nolan, currently Pre-K–12 content specialist, mathematics, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, as supervisor, Pre-K–12 Mathematics, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Marie C. Bercaw, currently acting coordinator, Certification Unit, as coordinator, Certification Unit, Office of Human Resources and Development
  • Jennifer A. Baker, currently principal, Tilden Middle School, as principal, Walter Johnson High School
  • Renay C. Johnson, currently principal, Takoma Park Middle School, as principal, Montgomery Blair High School
  • Samuel A. Rivera, currently principal, Benjamin Banneker Middle School, as principal, Springbrook High School
  • Monifa B. McKnight, currently principal intern, Tilden Middle School, as principal, Ridgeview Middle School
  • Michelle E. Schultze, currently assistant principal, Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents (RICA), as principal, Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents (RICA)
  • Roni S. Silverstein, currently director, Elementary Leadership Training, as principal, Fallsmead Elementary School

2011 Champions for Children Awards
The Board recognized the following recipients of this year’s Champions for Children Awards. The awards were first presented by the Montgomery County Business Roundtable for Education in 2002.

  • Dr. Edward Shirley Award for Excellence in Educational Administration and Supervision—Michael D. Bayewitz, principal, Broad Acres Elementary School
  • Montgomery County Teacher of the Year—Brian D. Freiss, math teacher, Highland Elementary School
  • Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award—Judy K. Brubaker, principal, Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School
  • Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award—Charles A. Orifici, instrumental music teacher, Clarksburg High School
  • 2011 Rookie Teacher of the Year—Todd E. Stillman, social studies teacher, Richard Montgomery High School
  • SEIU Local 500 Supporting Services Employee of the Year—Jerry M. Miller, plant equipment operator, Clarksburg High School
  • Volunteer Champion for Children—Barbara Haslam, PTA and Cashell Elementary School volunteer
  • Business Champion for Children—Kaiser Permanente

Recognition of the Asian American Education Association Scholarship Recipients
The Board commended the dedication and commitment to education of this year’s Asian American Education Association scholarship award winners:
  • Jeongyeon Park—James Hubert Blake High School
  • Angelica Magno—Gaithersburg High School
  • Grace Hsu—Walter Johnson High School
  • Trieu-Giang Cao—Springbrook High School
  • Yenoch Ng—Springbrook High School

Recognition of MCPS Higher Education Partnerships
The Board recognized higher education partners and their graduates for their contribution to the school system. MCPS has partnerships with Bowie State University, George Washington University, Hood College, Johns Hopkins University, McDaniel College, Montgomery College, Towson University, University of Maryland at College Park, and Washington Adventist University. The Board also recognized the following paraeducators who were awarded bachelor’s degrees resulting in dual certification in elementary and special education through the school system’s partnership with Washington Adventist University:

  • Jessica Colin—Great Seneca Creek Elementary School
  • Janet L. Gawler—Cold Spring Elementary School
  • Deanna M. Hooker—Takoma Park Middle School
  • Stephanie J. Louloudes—Forest Knolls Elementary School
  • Samantha C. MacDonald—Viers Mill Elementary School
  • Karen E. Mendez—Rolling Terrace Elementary School
  • Sujeewa D. Perera—Greencastle Elementary School
  • Petra W. Remson—William B. Gibbs, Jr. Elementary School
  • Mary M. Twigg—Bethesda Elementary School

MCPS Counselor of the Year Award Winners
The Board congratulated recipients of the School Counselor of the Year Awards:
  • Maryellen Bombara—Olney Elementary School
  • Erika A. Huck—Thomas W. Pyle Middle School
  • Marcia K. Johnson—Montgomery Blair High School
The awards, given to one counselor from each school level, recognize the vital role that school counselors play in the personal and academic development of MCPS students, and the impact they have in helping student achieve school success, plan for a career, and be college ready.

About the Board of Education
 Montgomery County Board of Education: Mr. Christopher Barclay, president; Ms. Shirley Brandman, vice president. Members: Ms. Laura Berthiaume, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Michael Durso, Mr. Phil Kauffman, Ms. Patricia O’Neill, and Mr. Alan Xie, student member. Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617. 
The Montgomery County Board of Education is the official educational policymaking body in the county. The Board is responsible for the direction and operation of the public school system. The Board consists of seven county residents elected by voters for a four-year term and a student elected by secondary school students for a one-year term. Board members are elected countywide but run at-large or from the Board district in which they reside. 

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