Board of Education Approves Later School Start Times; Adopts $2.39B FY 16 Operating Budget and Launches National Search for New Superintendent

February 11, 2015

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, February 10, 2015, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. Among other items, the Board voted to change school starting and ending times for the 2015-2016 school year; approved a Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Budget request for MCPS; and hired an outside executive search firm to assist in the search for a new superintendent. 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.

MCPS Bell Times

The Board of Education voted to change school starting and ending times in MCPS for the 2015-2016 school year—moving middle and high school start times 20 minutes later and elementary school start times 10 minutes later. The change will not affect the order in which students go to school, but will lengthen the elementary school day by 10 minutes. The additional 10 minutes will be used only for lunch or recess.

High school students will attend school from 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and middle school students will attend school from 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Elementary schools that begin at 8:50 a.m. will now begin at 9:00 a.m. and will end at 3:25 p.m. (Tier 1). Elementary schools that begin at 9:15 a.m. will now begin at 9:25 a.m. and end at 3:50 p.m. (Tier 2).

The change in bell times will have no impact on the district’s operating budget. Adjusting the start time for elementary schools by 10 minutes instead of 20 minutes shortens the length of the transportation window, which ultimately reduces costs by $1.3 million. No additional buses for general education or special education will be needed. The additional 10 minutes for the elementary school day will require the district to fund 37.7 additional lunch hour aide positions at a cost of $1.07 million, which is offset by cost savings resulting from the shortening of the transportation window.

Learn more

Read the memo to the Board of Education

Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Budget
The Board of Education approved a $2.39 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. The Board’s request includes a 4.1 percent increase in spending over this year, and will allow the district to provide the same services to a growing number of students; manage increased operational costs; and meet salary and benefit obligations. The Board’s budget request also assumes that the county will provide $23.3 million needed to restore one-time funding used last year to fund the current FY 2015 budget.

The budget passed by the Board is $10.2 million lower than the budget recommended by Superintendent Joshua Starr in December, due to lower-than-expected funding from the state of Maryland. The Board deferred most planned budget enhancements due to a $10 million cut in state funding. The Board’s request also includes reductions and efficiencies beyond what was included in the superintendent’s recommendation. This includes the elimination of 29 positions, including 17 building service workers.

The Board’s budget request will be submitted to the Montgomery County Executive and the County Council. The County Executive is expected to release his FY 2016 Operating Budget recommendation in mid-March. The County Council will hold public hearings prior to approving a final MCPS budget in May.

Read the Board item

Press Release

Superintendent Search Firm
The Board approved a contract with Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) to coordinate efforts to find a new superintendent for MCPS by July 1, 2015. HYA will be paid $35,000 for their services, plus the cost of any reasonable expenses.

HYA assisted with the last two superintendent searches for MCPS in 1999 and 2011. HYA also has assisted in searches for 14 of the nation’s 25 largest school districts and several area school systems, including Baltimore, Fairfax, and Loudon counties, as well as the Maryland State Board of Education. Since its founding more than 20 years ago, HYA has assisted more than 1,000 school boards with executive searches.

The search will include opportunities for community members to share the characteristics and expertise they would like to see in the next superintendent through community forums, focus groups, and an online survey. HYA will assist the Board in developing a job description and will ensure candidates are recruited through many different national networks. In the coming weeks, the Board will launch a superintendent search website to share more information about the search.

Superintendent Joshua Starr will end his tenure at MCPS on Monday, February 16, 2015. Mr. Larry Bowers, currently the district’s chief operating officer, will serve as interim superintendent.

Press Release

Fiscal Year 2016 Summer School Fees

The Board approved summer school fees for the coming summer, keeping the fees at the same level for FY 2015.  The Summer School Revenue-based Program full fees remain at $335 for elementary courses, $300 for high school core courses, and $310 for high school online courses. Reduced fees will remain at $85 or $120, depending on family income.

MCPS will provide summer school programs for intervention, enrichment and acceleration of academic instruction for MCPS students through four elementary regional centers, four high school regional centers, and local school programs.

Read the Board Item

Positions on Education Legislation

The Board discussed several pieces of legislation that are currently being considered by the Maryland General Assembly. Among the legislation the Board supports are: a bill that would establish a matching grant program that allows local school construction dollars to be leveraged with state funds for eligible school systems;  a bill that would make the funding of the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) mandatory; and a bill that would grant parents of a child with a disability the authority to request the translation of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The Board opposed other pieces of legislation, including those that would require active parental consent for participation in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Read the Board positions

Facilities and School Construction

The Board approved the following item related to school construction projects and facilities:

-Awarded contracts for the Julius West Middle School Addition Project

Resolutions: The Board approved the following resolutions:

-A resolution declaring the month of February 2015 to be observed as Career and Technology Education Month in MCPS

-A resolution in appreciation of Mr. James H. Daugherty, former member of the Montgomery County Board of Education, who passed away on January 20, 2015.

Future Meetings

The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Monday, February 23, 2015. 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: Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, president; Mr. Michael Durso, vice president. Members: Mr. Christopher Barclay, Dr. Judy Docca, Mr. Philip Kauffman, Ms. Jill Ortman-Fouse, 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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