MCCPTA FY2007 OPERATING BUDGET COMPACT
The Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations (MCCPTA) believes that an Operating Budget for the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) must provide funding to make progress towards the fundamental requirements described in this budget compact. This compact will provide the basis for testimony before the Board of Education and the County Council and in other forums concerning the MCPS Operating Budget for FY 2007. MCCPTA will not support any budget, MCPS Strategic Plan, or other planning or policy document, that does not make progress towards the requirements of this compact.
A. Maximum Performance for all Students
MCPS must focus on raising academic performance of all students so that all may reach their full potential, no matter where they reside in the county. There is a need for uniformly high expectations that all students will succeed and will have their needs met including Special Education, ESOL, and Gifted/Talented students. There must be sufficient funding for programs to raise the performance of under-performing students. There must also be adequate funding to enhance the performance of students who have attained satisfactory levels of performance but who can do better and to challenge students who exceed satisfactory levels of performance but are able to perform at even higher levels.
B. Educational Program Staffing
The highest priority for MCPS must be to provide teachers to reduce class sizes across the county at both elementary and secondary levels, weighted to take into account ESOL and Special Education students. MCPS should develop more appropriate class size guidelines at the elementary and secondary levels that are absolute caps on class size. Until appropriate class sizes are achieved, more paraeducators must be provided to enhance instruction. Further classroom staffing priorities include:
· There should be math specialists to provide early intervention for students.
· Middle school teachers teaching high school courses should hold the necessary qualifications and MCPS should ensure that specialty courses offered in signature programs are taught by teachers certified in those content areas.
· The student/teacher staffing ratios for art, music, and physical education should be decreased.
· The use of substitute teachers in the classroom during academic year teacher training should be minimized.
· There should be more reading teachers in all elementary and secondary schools.
· Funding must allow for expansion of all day kindergarten as proposed by the planned roll-out.
MCPS must not use funds appropriated for hiring new teachers or reducing class size for any other purpose.
C. Educational Resources
As adequate educational staffing is achieved, it will become even more important to provide staff with the tools necessary to assure success.
· Increased academic rigor in the middle school curriculum is needed. Attention to emotional and developmental needs, though appropriate, cannot be to the exclusion of rigorous academic standards.
· There should be more emphasis on providing a well-rounded curriculum including a rich science, social studies, and arts curriculum.
· Increase academic intervention/support resources to meet the demand based on need to include:
o Specific action/intervention plans for students not meeting standards under the new grading and reporting policy.
o Specific action/intervention plans for students not meeting extracurricular activity eligibility requirements.
o Consistent funding and implementation of special programs across the county. MCPS formulas for resource allocation need to be revised.
o Academic intervention/support such as summer learning opportunities should be available to all students based on need. Resource allocation should not be limited to Title I schools.
· When new curricula are introduced, teachers must be provided with new materials in a timely manner, as well as textbooks, to implement the changes effectively.
· More attention needs to be paid to vertical articulation to ensure students receive the foundation for future curriculum options.
D. A Safe and Healthful Environment
The setting in which education takes place should not be neglected. For optimal learning our schools must be a place where the children feel safe, and their health is protected. Pursuant to this, MCPS must be able to ensure adequate maintenance and repair personnel and adequate security personnel are provided. Furthermore,
· More attention must be paid to safety hazards posed by traffic patterns around schools as well as overcrowded and unsupervised buses.
· More attention and resources should be devoted to addressing discipline problems, especially at the middle school level, including the problem of gangs, bullying and risk to student safety.
· There should be more time devoted to physical education, particularly at the elementary school level.
· Building and mechanical improvements necessary to maintain adequate indoor air quality must be supported; and energy management policies must not compromise adequate indoor air quality.
· The process for lead remediation in school drinking water should be accelerated.
· There should be adequate funding to ensure school security, including better securing and monitoring of all school entrances and pathways to portables that are outside main buildings.
· There should be more resources devoted to cleaning and maintenance of outdated and inadequately functioning bathroom facilities.
· School lunch and a la carte menu selections should be reviewed and adjusted to improve nutritional content.
E. Other Support for Students
In a system with sufficient teaching resources in adequate buildings, other supports will still be needed to ensure a quality education for all children. To assist the educational staff and focus their time on working with students, MCPS needs to:
· Provide more local school based resources for communications, especially with non-English speaking parents and increase translation services.
· Relieve the administrative burden on educators by adding Assistant Principals.
· Add Guidance Counselors and pupil personnel workers, and staff to address social/emotional/developmental needs at all levels.
· Increase attention and resources to students who fail at the 9th grade level to anticipate and avoid risk of later drop out.
F. Retention and Recruitment of Qualified Staff
Development, retention, and recruitment of talented
educational, administrative, and support staff are fundamental to maintaining a
high quality of education in
G. Performance Assessment, Fiscal Responsibility and Securing Adequate Funding
Consistent with the goal of promoting maximum performance by all students, there must be greater accountability by MCPS for improved academic performance of students. MCPS accountability for effective use of resources should be increased by using the inventory of all MCPS programs to reduce duplications and overlaps, and through outcome measurement rigorously evaluate programs for effectiveness and efficiency.
· MCPS must adequately assess new programs and curricula before and after implementation, and should insure that sufficient course materials, guidebooks, and implementation documents are available, and teacher training completed before implementation.
· MCPS should evaluate the use of new technology to ensure that it is the most cost-effective way to increase student performance.
· There is a need for more oversight of local schools by the Community Superintendents.
· MCPS and BOE should develop a budget document that is more comprehensible to the public and that will allow decision -makers and the community to assess the costs and benefits of particular programs and initiatives.
The MCCPTA recognizes that an Operating Budget that
satisfies all of these requirements will necessitate a continued strong
commitment to education by