Board of Education Approves FY 2017 Operating Budget; Discusses FACT Methodology; and Redesign of METS/SEPA Programs

June 15, 2016

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. The Board approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Operating Budget; discussed the FACT methodology; received an update on the METS/SEPA programs; and approved Fiscal Year 2017 fees for the Food and Nutrition Services Program. The agenda for the meeting, with links to related materials, can be viewed on the Board of Education website. You also can watch the video of the meeting by clicking here.

Fiscal Year 2017 Operating Budget

The Board of Education approved a $2.46 billion FY 2017 operating budget for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). The budget is a $139 million (6.0 percent) increase over FY 2016 and provides $37.9 million of targeted funding that will allow MCPS to reduce class sizes in many classrooms across the district and accelerate our efforts to close the achievement gap. The approved budget marks the first time since 2009 MCPS has been funded above the minimum level required by state law, called Maintenance of Effort (MOE).

Read the Board Memorandum

Among the critical investments this budget funds are—

  • Lowering class sizes with additional teachers to continue the district’s commitment that all students be given the opportunity to be successful
  • Increasing paraeducator support to students in classrooms in targeted areas, including mathematics and literacy
  • Allocating additional Focus teachers to impacted schools to provide targeted support, especially in content areas such as literacy and mathematics in order to address achievement gaps
  • Enhancing our professional development investments to improve math and literacy instruction in elementary schools
  • Increasing the number of elementary school counselors, parent community coordinators, psychologists, and pupil personnel workers to provide support for the district’s most vulnerable students and their families
  • Increasing minority achievement programs, including the Student to Educator Pathway (STEP) program, after-school extracurricular activities, mentoring programs, and university partnerships
  • Expanding the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) program to additional schools

Read the News Release

Amendments to Existing Association Agreements

The Montgomery County Council took final action on the Montgomery County budget on May 26, 2016, and reduced the budget recommendations of the Board of Education and did not approve sufficient funds to fully implement the agreements that the Board of Education negotiated with its employee associations and unions. Interim Superintendent Bowers met with representatives from the three MCPS employee associations—the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500, and the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals and the Montgomery County Business and Operations Administrators Bargaining Unit (MCAAP/MCBOA)—to explore options for amending the agreements. The Board of Education has been unable to reach mutual agreement on revised terms of agreement to date and has voted to replace the salary schedule that was to go into effect on September 3, 2016, with a revised schedule that will go into effect July 1, 2016.

Amendments to Existing Association Agreements- SEIU

Amendments to Existing Association Agreements- MCAAP/MCBOA

Amendments to Existing Association Agreements-MCEA

Facilities Assessment with Criteria and Testing Methodology

The Board received an update and held a discussion on MCPS’ Facilities Assessment with Criteria and Testing (FACT) methodology.  The FACT methodology was developed in 2010 and was used to assess 53 MCPS facilities. On July 28, 2015, the Montgomery County Council Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) released a study of MCPS’ revitalization/expansion program. The OLO study focused on the FACT methodology and found that a number of the conditions assessed at schools were impermanent and could invalidate the scores over time. To update the FACT methodology and address the OLO findings, a FACT Review Committee was established and met from December 2015 to April 2016. The Committee reviewed the findings of the OLO study along with various components of the FACT methodology and produced recommendations for consideration. Interim Superintendent Bowers has recommended that three high schools be added to the assessments and that the district perform FACT reassessments every six years.

See the Recommendations from the Committee

Redesign of the METS/SEPA Program

The Board received a presentation from staff and held a discussion on proposed changes to services for students with limited or interrupted formal education, specifically the Multidisciplinary Educational Training and Support (METS) and Students Engaged in Pathways to Achievement (SEPA) programs. During the last five years, MCPS has received an influx of students with limited or interrupted formal education who are functioning at least two years or more below grade level in literacy and/or mathematics. Many of these new students, some being unaccompanied youth, have enrolled at the high school level. In addition, some of these students entered school with insufficient time to meet all of the graduation requirements outlined by the state of Maryland. Considering the varied educational backgrounds and interests of these older learners, MCPS is developing a comprehensive plan to effectively assess education, interests, and social emotional learning needs; determine the likelihood of graduation based on age and education; consider appropriate supports for social/emotional needs; and provide pathways for educational and career opportunities for this unique group of students.

For the past few decades, the METS program in MCPS has provided instruction to address literacy and numeracy skills needed to support the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students who enrolled in MCPS with limited or interrupted formal education. Established in 2007, SEPA is a career-based instructional program for high school ESOL/METS students who have experienced interrupted or limited formal education and due to their age, will be unable to meet graduation requirements by the time they attain age 21. SEPA provides an alternative instructional pathway that allows students to continue to acquire English language and mathematics skills while preparing for a career in the United States.

As part of the feedback process for METS and SEPA, stakeholders emphasized the importance of providing ongoing supports to parents to help them better understand the graduation and career pathways available to children. Program redesign will include incorporating project-based learning, career-based opportunities, bilingual supports in the classroom, and extended learning opportunities to engage students and support their academic growth.

Read the Board Memorandum

Fees for Food and Nutrition Services Program

The Board approved fees for school meals for the 2016-2017 school year.  The fees are unchanged from the 2015–2016 school year.  Breakfast will cost $1.30, lunch in elementary schools will cost $2.55 and lunch in secondary schools will cost $2.80. For students that received reduced-price meals, breakfast is free and lunch is 40 cents.  

Read the Memorandum to the Board


The Board approved the following administrative appointments:

Gary B. Bartee, currently liaison for MCPS Professional Growth Systems—MCAAP, as director, elementary leadership development, Office of School Support and Improvement

Faith K. Fischel, currently coordinator, preschool education program, as supervisor, child find/early childhood disabilities unit, Department of Special Education Services

Dyan K. Gomez, currently assistant principal, Seneca Valley High School, as supervisor, school allocations and resources, Department of Strategic Planning and Resource Management

Harold A. Barber, currently principal, Watkins Mill Elementary School, as principal, JoAnn Leleck Elementary School at Broad Acres

Dara Brooks, currently assistant principal, Flower Hill Elementary School, as principal, Bel Pre Elementary School

Keely R. Cooke, currently principal intern, Rosemont Elementary School, as principal, Rosemont Elementary School

Anthony S. Felder, currently principal, Gwynns Falls Elementary School, Baltimore City Public Schools, as principal, Brookhaven Elementary School

Meredith M. McNerney, currently principal intern, Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School, as principal, Gaithersburg Elementary School

Facilities and School Construction

The Board approved several items related to school construction projects and facilities, including an architectural appointment for the former English Manor Elementary School renovations project.


The Board approved the following resolutions:

·        A resolution recognizing the Distinguished Hispanic Scholars

·         A resolution recognizing the Leadership Montgomery Youth Community Leadership Award recipients

·         A resolution recognizing the Montgomery County Alliance of Black School Educators Scholarship recipients

·         A resolution recognizing the George B. Thomas, Sr., Learning Academy, Inc. High Achievement Scholarship recipients

·         A resolution recognizing the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Scholarship recipients  

 Future Meetings

The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Monday, June 27. 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. Michael Durso, president; Dr. Judith Docca, vice president. Members: Mr. Christopher Barclay, Mr. Philip Kauffman, Mrs. Patricia O’Neill, Ms. Jill Ortman-Fouse, Mrs. Rebecca Smondrowski, and Mr. Eric Guerci, student member. Mr. Larry A. Bowers, interim superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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