MCCPTA FY 2006 OPERATING BUDGET COMPACT

Approved January 10,2005


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 2006. 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, weighted to take into account ESOL and Special Education students; included in this effort should be the resources necessary to manage  appropriate class size guidelines in a way that absolute caps are established  and held to.  During the period of  transition, as resources necessary to attain appropriate class sizes are  accrued, more para-educators must be provided to enhance instruction.  Further classroom staffing  priorities:
Math specialists to provide  early intervention.
Decreased use of substitute  teachers;
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;
Art, music and physical  education teachers throughout the school system.
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.

        As the curriculum changes,  teachers must be provided with new materials, and not just textbooks, to make it  work.

        More attention needs to be  paid to vertical articulation to ensure students receive the foundation for  future curriculum options.

        Increased academic rigor in  middle school curriculum is needed.
Attention to emotional and developmental  needs though appropriate cannot be to the exclusion of rigorous academic  standards.

        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       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.

 

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 that adequate security  personnel are provided.  Further  should provide:

        More cleaning and maintenance  of outdated and inadequately functioning bathroom facilities.

        Support for necessary air  quality improvements must be supported.

        More attention must be paid  to safety hazards posed by traffic patterns as well as overcrowded and  unsupervised buses.

        More resources to ensure  school security, including security in portables that are outside main  buildings.

        More Physical Education  periods

        More attention and resources  devoted to addressing discipline problems, especially at the middle school  level, including the problem of gangs, bullying and risk to student safety.

        Immediate remediation for lead  in drinking water problem.

 

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 resources for  communications, especially with non-English speaking parents.

        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  
Montgomery  County.  MCPS needs to address the high turnover  rate for Principals, and seek greater diversity.

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 is completed before implementation.
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  
Montgomery  County.  Such a commitment and investment, however, is more than justified by the benefits a well-resourced educational  system provides to the community.