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If interested in watching the video of the Howard County Board of Education budget work session meeting on June 3, 2019 CLICK HERE (if you have a spare 7 hours on your hand…give it a look). I admit I did not watch the entire thing…I go to bed way to early to have watched it all.

Here is a listing of motions and votes from that meeting (that have been shared at this point):

Move the Board not reduce any instrumental elementary teachers. 

Motion by Jennifer Mallo, second by Sabina Taj.
Final Resolution: Motion Carries
Yea: Kirsten A Coombs, Vicky Cutroneo, Christina Delmont-Small, Mavis Ellis, Jennifer Mallo, Sabina Taj, Chao Wu
Move the Board move funding for student transportation software and the support for substitute teachers into funding for paraeducators.
Motion by Mavis Ellis, second by Sabina Taj.
Final Resolution: Motion Fails
Yea: Kirsten A Coombs, Mavis Ellis, Sabina Taj
Nay: Vicky Cutroneo, Christina Delmont-Small, Jennifer Mallo, Chao Wu

 

Move the Board reduce pool positions from 30-25 for a savings of $350,000 and place towards paraeducators.

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Motion by Sabina Taj, second by Kirsten A Coombs.
Final Resolution: Motion Carries
Yea: Kirsten A Coombs, Vicky Cutroneo, Christina Delmont-Small, Mavis Ellis, Sabina Taj, Chao Wu
Not Present at Vote: Jennifer Mallo

Move the Board not cut any G/T teachers.

Motion by Chao Wu, second by Jennifer Mallo.
Final Resolution: Motion Carries
Yea: Kirsten A Coombs, Christina Delmont-Small, Jennifer Mallo, Sabina Taj, Chao Wu
Nay: Vicky Cutroneo, Mavis Ellis

Move to approve the reductions in central office (non school based) spending and hiring freeze in the amount of $6,563,558.

Motion by Sabina Taj, second by Kirsten A Coombs.
Final Resolution: Motion Carries
Yea: Kirsten A Coombs, Vicky Cutroneo, Christina Delmont-Small, Mavis Ellis, Jennifer Mallo, Sabina Taj, Chao Wu
Move to approve the reduction of Materials of Instruction in the amount of $500,000.
Motion by Sabina Taj, second by Kirsten A Coombs.
Final Resolution: Motion Carries
Yea: Kirsten A Coombs, Vicky Cutroneo, Christina Delmont-Small, Mavis Ellis, Jennifer Mallo, Sabina Taj, Chao Wu
Move to approve the reduction of central office positions in the amount of $200,000.
Motion by Sabina Taj, second by Kirsten A Coombs.
Final Resolution: Motion Carries
Yea: Kirsten A Coombs, Vicky Cutroneo, Christina Delmont-Small, Mavis Ellis, Jennifer Mallo, Sabina Taj, Chao Wu
Note – I think there were other motions not on this list (that I got from the video link)…so maybe there is information I am missing since I have not had a chance to see all 7 hours of the video. I can only publish what information I have on hand.
Article Update: Here is even a better rundown that I got from the video link:

Here are documents that go along with the meeting (the last one is most important to review if you watch the video).

File Attachments

A few comments from me:

The Superintendent and Howard County Board of Education members had difficult decision to make last night. None were easy but there are some thing that stood out to me:

The votes and discussions not reduce any instrumental elementary teachers and not cut any G/T teachers were interesting…in that neither were on the list of cuts in the “Cuts-Saving” document.

There was a big crowd on hand at the meeting to advocate for the instrumental elementary teachers:

No discussion against this vote…there was discussion for it…and it passed 7 to 0 (wonder if the crowd on hand had anything to do with that…hmmm).

Saving the GT teachers did not go as smoothly…as there was opposition to this vote and discussion against it in comparing this program to the the importance of paraeducators (interesting that that same discussion did not happen with the music instructors…again…crowd related…maybe). This passed (eventually) with a 5 to 2 vote.

If you go back to the document on May 8th…where Music, GT, paraeducators and Tech teachers were all suggested cuts…one could make the following statement: the school system and the board just prioritized Music and GT positions over paraeducators and technology instruction positions. We all knew cuts were going to be discussed and this is how it played out (as it appeared to me).

One new item showed up last night…Eliminate ES MST from 21.6 to 0 and ES RST from 21.6 to 0 and MIST from 16 to 0.

I commend the Board Members for looking at a variety of things last night and having discussions in order to save as many teacher positions as they could during the meeting. I also commend the Superintendent and school staff for stating that no teacher would lose their jobs. The people in positions being cut will be moved to other positions in the school system (104 positions proposed cut and the school system has on average 120 position openings during the summer…something mentioned last night…and that the people in positions cut would be moved to other open positions.).

Nothing is a done deal until they approve the budget on June 6th. It would not totally surprise me that if in the next couple of days more changes are made to the cuts prior to the vote on the 6th.

Stay tuned folks…I will have a follow up after that budget is finalized. I also hope to have some comments to share with you from our HoCoBOE members (those that provide a statement online). I hope they (board members) share what the final outcomes are when this is all done. It is way to much for the public to watch in full and understand it all watching online. Especially when we do not have the documents in front of us!!!

Here is one post that I saw last night / this morning:

More to come soon. If I got anything wrong above…feel free to comment on the blog or on social media.

Scott E

5 COMMENTS

  1. I would have liked to see comparative dollar figures for each category from the current budget.

  2. I am curious how much money we were spending on special education.

    I know it seems ‘politically incorrect’ to discuss this, but as the whole school system facing budget cut, it does not make sense that Special Education is the only one get away from it, and even getting more funding. And no one wants bring this on to the table for a honest discussion.

    I heard every 5 (or 3) new students coming into the county, 2 of them need special ed because Howard county has a reputation of great special ED which attract family in need. On one side this is a great thing ,but on the another side, we also need to keep it financially sustainable. (In my school, we are seeing dramatic increase in special ED teacher, quite some are 1 to 1, but regular teachers or classroom helpers got cut. The trend does not have any sign to slow down.)

    Anyone has numbers of the following:
    1. how many special ed students currently in the county
    2. how much we spent in total, and per pupil.
    3. The ratio of special ed students among new comers?

    • I can’t give you actual numbers, but as a classroom teacher who has been in the county for 18 years, I can tell you that special ed funding was cut under Dr. Foose. I’d imagine that’s the reason that they’re getting an increase now, because they were raided for years recently. I can also tell you that the amount of responsibility for my students’ IEPS on me as a classroom teacher is much greater than it was even 5 years ago.

  3. Music — and Gifted/Talented — make up the “third rail” of the Howard County education budget. No other interest groups are quite as well organized, political, and vocal. Special Education parents may file lawsuits if they feel their students are not adequately served, but Music and G/T parents are almost as effective with their lobbying.

    • So we should all file lawsuits to get funding if we feel our children not fully served by the public school system. Someone else brought up an interesting point, GT in music or other various fields needs ‘ special education’, since kids talented usually not served well in regular classroom. I do not see music program and GT program were strongly advocated to the same extent as special education. They were on the table for cut , while special education part is untouchable. We also see more and more students identified as needing IEP, while most of them are really in need. But is there a possiblilty of over identifying bias from both sides? To get more attention for my own children ,and to have more cases, so we don’t lose funding. All and all, if 2 out of 5 students
      are on IEP at a reasonable cause, our local and national health department have a serious problem .They needs to look into what leads to such a high proportion of children are considered outside of normal healthy range. Maybe people need to promote he

      From our own experience , some the students identified were more of a problem kids naturally grow out of when they are a little older. But if you are persistent enough, you could get your children on an IEP. A lot of other severe cases, students are not benefitting more from attended regular classroom. It might worth discussion that if it will be more efficient and making more financial sense to pool resource together, and instead of disperse into different locations. And we are spending extra extra money to send students to 3rd party institute for special ed, if we

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