Board of Education Approves Changes to Expense Procedures

July 29, 2014
The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Monday, July 28, 2014, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. Among other items, the Board approved changes to expense procedures for Board members, including the elimination of district-funded credit cards, and approved final budgetary transfers for Fiscal Year 2014. The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website. You can also watch the video of the meeting by clicking here.

Changes to Expense Procedures and Practices
The Board approved sweeping changes to the processes and guidelines that govern the payment of expenses that Board members incur as a part of their work. Among the changes, Board members will no longer use district-funded credit cards; will receive a per diem allowance when attending professional conferences; and will employ a new process for determining public events, conferences, and meetings that Board members can attend at the district’s expense. The Board voted unanimously to approve the changes, which take effect immediately.

For the past four months, an Ad Hoc Committee—established by Board President Phil Kauffman—has been reviewing processes and guidelines that govern Board member expenses. The committee also had an outside legal counsel review expense reports from the past two years and make recommendations for changes based on their findings. The Ad Hoc Committee, which included Mr. Kauffman; Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, vice president of the Board; and Mr. Michael Durso, chair of the Board’s Fiscal Management Committee, sent a series of recommendations to the Board for consideration.  The Venable law firm conducted the outside review of the expenses and the Board practices and guidelines regarding the usage of county-issued credit cards. The report of Venable attorney Karl Racine found that there were weaknesses and ambiguity in the current processes that needed to be corrected and recommended that Board members no longer be issued district-funded credit cards. However, the review “did not uncover evidence of intentional action taken to improperly use the credit cards for personal expenses.”

Read the Press Release

Read the Board memo

Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Transfers
The Board approved final budget transfers in order to reconcile the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Operating Budget. Such categorical transfers are subject to approval by the County Council.  FY 2014 categorical transfers total $5,725,000, which is 0.3 percent of the total operating budget.  

Overall, the FY 2014 MCPS Operating Budget ended with an expenditure surplus of $13,464,198.  There were surpluses in Category 1, Administration; Category 2, Mid-level Administration; Category 3, Instructional Salaries; Category 4, Textbooks and Instructional Supplies; Category 5, Other Instructional Costs; Category 7, Student Personnel Services; Category 8, Health Services; and Category 11, Maintenance of Plant.  Category 6, Special Education; Category 9, Student Transportation; Category 10, Operation of Plant and Equipment; and Category 12, Fixed Charges, ended the year in deficit. 

Read the Board item
Administrative Appointment
The Board of Education approved the following administrative appointment:

Nicole P. Allain, currently assistant school administrator, John F. Kennedy High School, as coordinator, Special Initiatives, Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs

Facilities and School Construction
The Board approved the following items related to school construction projects and facilities:

Appointed architects for school addition projects at
Lucy V. Barnsley Elementary School, Kensington-Parkwood Elementary School, and North Bethesda Middle School

Selected a firm to handle preconstruction/construction management services for the addition project at Wood Acres Elementary School

Future Meetings

The Board will meet on Thursday, August 21, 2014, for its next regular business meeting. Public items will begin at 11:30 a.m.
Please check the Board of Education meeting calendar for further information

About the Board of Education

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.

Montgomery County Board of Education: Mr. Philip Kauffman, president; Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, vice president. Members: Mr. Christopher Barclay, Ms. Shirley Brandman, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Michael Durso, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, and Ms. Dahlia Huh, student member. Dr. Joshua P. Starr, superintendent and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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