Board of Education Asks MABE to Oppose Executive Initiatives that Intrude Upon Local Board Authority, Receives Update on Study of Choice and Special Academic Programs

September 27, 2016

The Montgomery County Board of Education met on Monday, September 26, 2016, at the Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. During the meeting, the Board passed a resolution addressing the Governor’s executive order that intrudes upon the authority of the Maryland State Board of Education and all local boards in Maryland, and received an update on the work Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) has been engaged in to address the Study of Choice and Special Academic Programs. 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.

Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) Resolution

Noting that Governor Larry Hogan recently attempted to exercise unprecedented authority over local boards of education by issuing an executive that intrudes upon the authority of the Maryland State Board of Education and all local boards in Maryland, the Montgomery County Board of Education adopted a resolution asking MABE to:

  • vigorously defend against any action taken by a Governor to intrude upon the authority of local boards and encourage local boards to take their guidance from the State Board of Education, which has exclusive visitatorial power over educational policy and public school administration; and
  • advocate for and support legislation to clarify that local board governance authority is not subject to executive orders by the Governor; and
  • oppose any executive or legislative initiatives that have the effect of reducing or circumscribing local board authority. 

The Board’s resolution will be sent to MABE’s Resolution Committee in anticipation of consideration during MABE’s Annual Conference October 5-7.

See substitute resolution adopted by the Board

Choice Study Update

The Board of Education received an update from MCPS staff and held a discussion on the work MCPS has been engaged in to address the Study of Choice and Special Academic Programs, including an overview of the multiyear blueprint for implementing improvements. The Board voted to have its Policy Management Committee (Committee) continue its review of the implications of the Metis Associates’ study for Policy JEE, Student Transfers, including in particular the issue of sibling links for immersion and other programs, as well as interest-based transfers including access to career and technical education pathways.  Furthermore, the Board voted to have the Committee present the results of its review of Policy JEE, Student Transfers, to the Board at its December 13, 2016, meeting, so that there will be ample time for public comment on any proposed changes, as well as revisions to MCPS documents and publications that inform students, parents, and staff about the transfer process for the 2017–2018 school year.

MCPS staff noted that in January 2015, the Board contracted with Metis Associates to conduct a review of choice programs in MCPS and how well these programs are positioned to advance MCPS’ mission, core purpose, and core values.

Throughout fall and winter 2015 and 2016, Metis engaged in extensive fact and data gathering. After hearing from numerous stakeholders including staff, students, parents/guardians, and community members, reviewing an extensive collection of historical documents, and consulting with experts, Metis developed a report detailing its findings and offering eight recommendations. On March 8, 2016, Metis presented the report to the Board and provided detailed information about the methodology and engagement efforts. MCPS staff was charged with addressing Metis’ key recommendation and immediately began engaging the community in conversation about the findings, the recommendations, and a collective vision of choice within MCPS predicated on equity of access and excellence in teaching and learning.

After reviewing the findings, recommendations, and stakeholder input, MCPS staff has identified six strands of work to address issues raised in the Metis report. The district has developed a timeline for addressing the myriad of programs, policies, and structures identified by Metis’ findings. Each strand contains a community outreach and engagement component. The two topics that have generated the most public discussion are the elementary school language immersion programs and the center programs for the highly gifted. In addition to these, there are strands focused on secondary school issues such as magnets, consortiums, and language pathways. The complexity and breadth of the undertaking requires a multiyear approach that will involve continuous engagement with the broadest possible range of stakeholders. During the next several years there will be updates on the work that has begun under the auspices of the Choice Study.

Read the memorandum to the Board

See Resolution adopted by Board

Facilities and School Construction

The Board approved several items related to school construction projects and facilities, including an architectural appointment for the Ashburton and S. Christa McAuliffe elementary schools addition projects.


The Board approved the following resolution:

Future Meetings

The Board will hold its next regular business meeting on Monday, October 10, 2016. 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. Dr. Jack R. Smith, superintendent of schools and secretary-treasurer. Office of the Board: 301-279-3617.

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