Our public schools belong to all of us. They are a public resource. They prepare our children for the future. As I head into my third budget season as superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools, I want to put a few facts on the table. And armed with these facts, I invite you to help me keep the promise that public education offers to our children.

First, public education is a great investment in the future of our children and our community. Tremendous benefits flow back to communities that invest in their public schools. High school graduates are twice as likely to be employed and three times less likely to need public assistance, saving billions of tax dollars nationally each year. Likewise, we know how important it is to raise the next generation of community leaders, to prepare our future workforce, and to make sure our children have good jobs in strong neighborhoods right here in Frederick. Public education helps make that happen.

Second, FCPS stretches every dime to the limit. During challenging economic times, we’ve deferred pay raises, furloughed employees, cut positions, consolidated bus routes, used energy saving tools to cut costs, and reduced departmental and school budgets, among other things. We’ve partnered with the county government to find synergies — from using county fuel depots to save on transportation costs to absorbing the county’s warehouse functions to provide savings for the Board of County Commissioners. We are maximizing our community’s investment while protecting the classroom as much as possible.

Finally, we’re one of the best school systems in the state and nation. Our students outperform their peers across the country. We proudly highlight the state and national awards our schools earn every year. These are things we’ve all worked hard to achieve. These accomplishments reflect the lengths to which our dedicated teachers and principals will go to give our students the best education possible.

These are the facts. It’s also a fact that for the last five years, FCPS has received maintenance of effort funding or, put simply, the same dollars per pupil as the year before. Since maintenance of effort doesn’t include inflationary factors, maintenance does not mean you maintain but that you must cut in order to balance the budget. Maintenance of effort doesn’t keep up with rising health care costs, increased fuel costs or allow for salary increases. So rather than maintaining the status quo, FCPS is cutting services. That’s beginning to take a toll on our staff and our students.

So what does this mean? The priorities our community has identified for our school system are deferred year after year. When we wanted to put math specialists into our elementary schools to boost math teaching and improve the skills of our youngest learners, we couldn’t afford the $2 million price tag. Students asked me to request more counselor positions in our middle and high schools. They know firsthand what it takes to apply for college or try to find a career and how important counselors are. The counselor-to-student ratio in our high schools is a dismal 1:334. But the cost for a boost in these positions was about $800,000 — an ongoing cost that we couldn’t afford.

From early foreign language teaching to better technology in our classrooms to expanding the Career and Technology Center, the list of benefits and opportunities denied to our students goes on and on. Every year of maintenance of effort funding makes it harder and harder for FCPS to fund the things our schools and students need, much less the things they want.

Maintenance of effort is a rearview mirror. Why aren’t we keeping our eyes forward and focusing on our children’s future?

Dr. Theresa Alban

is superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools.

(94) comments

lifelearner

The teacher to student ratio is very misleading. Most teachers have at a minimum of 35 students in all of their classes unless you are a reading or math intervention teacher. Their class size ranges from 1 to 12 students. Because of all the mandates in place that are required, it really throws the student to teacher ratio off. Also, there are handicapped students that are provided with a school bus, driver and aide or aides and many other technologies to assist them not only in the regular buildings in Frederick County but to transport them on a daily basis to places outside of Frederick County. Again, these are federally mandated issues outside of the control of FCPS or even the state level. There are homeless children that have moved to PA, WV or VA and by federal law they must be provided transportation to their "home" school until otherwise noted from these other states or mandates. This is just a few of the insights of public education that the general population, taxpayers and concerned/unconcerned citizens are not aware of unless they are involved with the daily business of the school system or have students using these services. Yes, there is some funding from the federal level that provides for these students. However, it is never enough. So, when commentators make the misleading statements on here about ridding the school system of sports, band, theater arts and other programs that really do encourage students (all students) to be in school, make an effort to do their best each day and to attend school on a daily basis, to be a well rounded, positive and productive citizen, you really don't have all the facts and are uneducated about even a small part of the entire educational system. It is a small drop in the bucket of where the money really is spent when you actually see what is spent on general ed students versus special education and its mandates and education in general. It is very misleading as to what the true cost of education is all about and how much really is being done with the amount of money that is being spent per pupil. And as some have posted on here, all of the programs listed have some type of booster/fundraisers and each student pays a small fee for the program of their interest. Please spend some time either being educated to be in public education and be a true public servant or at least invest a little more time in finding out for yourself just a few of these facts.

squibmyer

Wonder how much could be saved if FCPS employees were asked to contribute 1% more to their pensions and 1-5% towards their healthcare?

normalperson

Hope someone emails this to Alban to see

watson4sherlock

Superintendent make a plan for how you can provide a basic high school education which graduates the greatest number of students with a high school diploma at MOE.

Then tell us what it would cost to ad in perks and we'll decide if we want to pay for them or not. Just give us more money to do for whatever we want to do won't work.

thump1202

[thumbup] this is exactly the kind of mindset that is needed at state and federal levels of government in addition to the local school system, throwing money at problems does NOT solve them just leads to more waste. no more sacred cows in government, show me your crying children i'll show them a fence to paint for the money.

watson4sherlock

In 1960, there were 1.4 million public school teachers educating 36.3 million primary and secondary students. This represented a ratio of one teacher per 25.8 pupils.

In 2009, there were 3.2 million teachers - a 129 percent rise - educating 49.3 million students - a 36 percent rise. This represented a ratio of one teacher per 15.6 students.

You read that correctly: despite all the media carping and whining, average class size in this country has dropped by over ten students or 40 percent in the last 50 years.

See http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/06/11/media-myth-debunked-number-teachers-increased-four-times-faster-stude

randomfax

Numbers are always wonderful tools when used properly. While you have compiled some interesting information you neglect to attribute mitigating circumstances to the student-teacher ratio. More staff is hired to address the needs of at-risk or mentally challenged students. Thus, while there is more staff overall, "regular" students do not benefit through smaller classes and more individualized attention. Thus, yet again, while your numbers are interesting they appear to be purposefully misleading. Are you intending to mislead or are yo just misinformed?

watson4sherlock

So is your assumption there were no special needs students in 1960 misleading? While it was true that until the US Supreme Court ruled an IEP must be written and students with disabilities could not be labelled uneducatable, students with disabilities were educated somewhere. Even as aged as I am, I went to school with special needs students who were segregated in a portable and they came into the school for pep ralleys and such.

Are staff hired to work with special needs students well paid?

Bus Driver.........................$14,907.23
Custodian..........................$14,616.85
Instr Asst, Special Ed........$14,560.69

See http://db.fredericknewspost.com/FCPS_SALARIES_12.htm?StartRow=5601&refresh={ts '2013-12-03 09:50:21'}

watson4sherlock

I even remember there being special needs classes in my elementary school. There was one kid who bit another kid at recess that ended up there.

See http://okolo.wiki.educ.msu.edu/file/view/classicarticles.pdf/53334430/
classicarticles.pdf

watson4sherlock

We link part of the measured slowdown in the growth of college attendance and completion, growing gender difference in college attainment and rising wage premiums to lower high school graduation rates over the past 40 years. In the first half of the 20th century, growth in high school graduation was the driving force behind increased college enrollments. The post-1970 declines in graduation flattened college attendance and completion rates as well as the skill attainment of the U.S. workforce. To increase the skill level of the future workforce, America needs to confront its high school dropout problem.

See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2900934/

watson4sherlock

The last of the baby boomers graduated in 1982. The funding levels remained the same and classes got smaller.

The increases are reversing a trend toward smaller classes that stretches back decades. Since the 1980s, teachers and many other educators have embraced research finding that smaller classes foster higher achievement.

See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/education/07classrooms.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

watson4sherlock

The FCPS already presented their funding dilemma. Defunding sports is not sufficient to balance the budget. FNP had a document link to possible savings including $10 million on healthcare expenses. But then they spend more than $1 million on WiFi.

Eliminating the [9th grade] program could save Frederick County Public Schools nearly $50,000

See http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/education/article_838be966-aa10-534e-a0ca-da2d2a06f2ef.html


The budget, tweaked slightly since schools Superintendent Terry Alban released her proposal Jan. 17, requests $15.2 million more than required for “maintenance of effort”

See http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/education/article_d5caa7ce-c802-5497-8eb8-aad8ee42883f.html

normalperson

I guarantee the FNP article only looked at getting rid of 9th grade sports. That still allows all the other sports programs to continue at a large price. You have to cut all sports to make it effective. Technology is better money spent than sports!!!!!!!!! Would you prefer your child intelligent on computers or running around on an artificial turf field. That's a pretty simple solution, cut the turf for that one and you have wifi in all schools. Thats a better use of money isn't it?????????? Can you tell me what the cost is of all sports related activities(transportation,coaches,uniforms etc.) I bet it's more than $10 million.

So, your solution to get rid of athletics would continue contributing to the major obesity epidemic already in existence in this country among school-age. And your suggestion that computer classes replace sports programs... I guess we'll make the eye doctors richer as well as Apple, Microsoft and all the other technology giants since our kids will be stuck in front of computers.

Do you think the cost of purchasing and maintaining the technology would less than athletics? When I go to an FCPS sporting event, I pay an admission fee. Will I pay a fee to watch my kid play a video gam?

kjswartz

Normal, there's a fairness aspect at play here.

There are several student players who are preparing themselves to participate through middle and high school years. You advocate something that will have profound implications in their lives.

At least show us that notion has some impact on you!

watson4sherlock

Students looking for athletic scholarships will have to make a new plan.

Actually this is a ploy to get parents to advocate for more tax money so athletics don't have to be cut. It's been played before.

The superintendent isn't going to give up any of her administrators because that would make her less powerful and influential. She'd never volunteer to take a 10% paycut. You can be sure of that.

kjswartz

Who is talking about athletic scholarships? I'm speaking of those who invested their time and practice to simply make varsity, and have a well rounded school experience. Let's face it - most of those participating will not be offered scholarships. They enjoy the competition and the adoration that it can bring.

It's that fairness wrinkle, as in tossing away the Ten Commandments monument given to us by the producer of the movie. It's the same issue as a robo-calll the night before an election, or a majority of county commissioners dismissing two nursing homes' boards of directors and, singlemindedly, abrogating a nearly two hundred year old commitment.

I don't like what I am seeing - be prepared, I have a mind and not afraid to speak it.

watson4sherlock

No it is not. It was in fact one of the small ticket items.

normalperson

They just looked at 9th grade sports.It is a small piece. You have to cut all

watson4sherlock

So if you cut 10th, 11th, and 12th that's only three times more or about $200,000. This is not going to be the $15 million they need.

watson4sherlock

Sports fees collected $663,000
Athletics & Extracurricular Activities - Programs 023 & 092 $2,616,112

See http://www.fcps.org/cms/lib02/MD01000577/Centricity/Domain/99/
FY14.ADOPTED.BUDGET.BOOK.Color.pdf

watson4sherlock

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports that the school district will save $50,000 by canceling tennis, track, baseball in the spring and volleyball and football in the fall. Singleton says the move will be used to meet a state demand to open two fully functional science labs by Aug. 1.

See http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/01/hard-pressed-texas-school-drops-sports--for-academics/1

watson4sherlock

All student team members are required to pay a nonrefundable interscholastic fee of $90 per sport season. Students must pay this fee before the first athletic contest. Fees collected will contribute to the county athletics program to underwrite transportation, coaches’ salaries, officials’ fees, equipment and uniforms.

See http://www.fcps.org/page/183

darththevader

Really??? But they refuse to do an audit.

I guess they'll be heading to Annapolis with their parade of crying kids to say they need more money

watson4sherlock

How could you possible know they refuse to do an audit?

watson4sherlock

See http://www.frederickcountymd.gov/documents/40/7966/FCPS%20Purchasing%20Operations%20Audit%20Report%20FINAL_201310211153511561.pdf

kjswartz

Weird statement for Darth to make.
From the 2014 budget:

http://www.fcps.org/cms/lib02/MD01000577/Centricity/Domain/99/FY14.ADOPTED.BUDGET.BOOK.Color.pdf

County - In-kind - Internal Audit Services
2012/63,610
2013/92,310
2014/145,777

The county actually cut into the MoE to double the cost of audit services, which, strangely, are now outsourced.

soule1061

What exactly is the purpose of Public Education? When I went to school, it was to provide students with a basic level of education that they would need in the marketplace. Kids who quit school after the Eight Grade (some did) got a good basic education that allowed them to succeed at that level. High school provided a next-level education and the basis for college entry. If students entering college today need remedial course work in order to succeed in college, something is badly wrong with the public school curriculum. Some kids (detractors say most) come out of high school unable to form thoughts into a coherent sentence. This is what the BOE needs to fix.

normalperson

Still need parents to be involved to make sure their children do what is required. Parents need to still be parents and push the kids. Teachers are the first step but it's up to the PARENTS

kjswartz

I've seen your posts mentioning the very same things over and over.

It's the parent's or parents' fault.

I presume you are talking to the minimum wage earning, municipal bus riding, McDonald's meal buying parent you are referring to. The same parent of the children your kids attend school with.

Are those parents the ones you're blaming?

We really want to know.

watson4sherlock

How dare parents sent their students to schools to be educated. Education belongs in the home. School is for fun and games and incentives.

normalperson

I am blaming any parent that does not take the time to make sure their child does what is required to succeed. If it's the wealthy or the poor it ends up the same. The child loses in the end. Who's fault is it then...if you don't help your child no matter who you are the PARENT is to BLAME. You would think if you are minimum wage earner you would want to make sure your child does well as not to end up where you are.

vicdavy

kj,you're reaching. No answer or understanding,just stereotypes and judgement.

watson4sherlock

How many minimum wage earners never learned to read when they were in school? Hold yourself to your own level of performance.

Some children spend 12 hours a day in school and daycare and 10 hours a day sleeping and parents need a little time to run the household.

If anyone can teach why does it require an education to be employed in the field. Clearly teachers are over paid.

normalperson

Parents have their children and don't want to raise their children. I am talking about people just like you KJswartz. They want an excuse!!!!!! Want to answer to that one!!!!!!!!!!!

watson4sherlock

So are you saying a normalperson who is a parent does not want to raise their children? How could you?

normalperson

Call them like you see it I say. Reality today

kjswartz

I hope you can tell from my vocabulary and grammar that I am very educated. These counselors provide a very important service to parents and students alike, where a wealth of information is available FOR THE ASKING.

Remember the movie "Grease", set back in the 1960s? That shows how much have we cut from our education system. In my day, every senior WAS REQUIRED by the state to spend an hour with a school counselor to undergo career counseling. We turned into the most productive generation, so, yeah, I kinda know a little of what I'm talking about.

watson4sherlock

My counselor gave me a lecture about how only really bright students can go to college and how one of my classmates was applying to Princeton. Then I said can you just fill out my scholarship application with my class rank and gpa so I can leave. When he came back with the completed form he didn't say another word. Silence is golden.

Because you see my parents weren't college graduates or professors at the university who could get their student admitted at the state university when they flunked out of Princeton like my classmate did.

watson4sherlock

I'm thinking you're not really seeing them. You're just making it up as you go along.

Parents can really screw up a kid. Other parents are just lucky and get good kids and can't really take responsibility for how the kid turns out.

There is no one formula for successful parenting. You're probably just one of the lucky ones. Nothing you've said makes me believe your success as a parent is by design.

kjswartz

This is a very fascinating thread.

Counselors have the training and experience to help students decide their career choice(s). Plus, since they are paid with our tax dollars, are resistant to outside influence $$$s.

Coaches, on the other hand - do they receive grift from scouts and college players associations? Is the students' best interests really being sought when there's $$$s sitting on the table?

Now, there's some people who think the Internet is the source of all good information. Google "Career Councelor" (spelt that way) and see what careers are being offered. Kids, don't try this at home without your parents' presence and permission!

Students have questions. What are their choices to pursue a mechanics' license. What options are there in Sales? How do I best get my first good paying job. Counselors allow these students to DO that, along with the resources to investigate further and a friendly ear to discuss the matter further.

watson4sherlock

Counselor could do more. My counselor walked around the school carrying his coffee cup. Perhaps it was a sign of the times that someone from a blue collar family wouldn't be encourage to go to college. In the end you can't wait for someone to help you. You have to figure out how to help yourself.

You didn't get referals to jobs if you had no experiencing. The job service worker held all the cards and they were not posted. You had to find out about jobs in the newspaper or from other people.

kjswartz

Watson - I'm confused by your responses.

With over 10,000 posts to your name, I can safely assume you don't hold a day job. That's not a slam against you; instead I can see a depth of your life's experience.

The confusing aspect is that those counselors of yesteryear were poorly trained, lacked the credentials available today, and were prone to stereotyping students based on prejudices of that era.

I also had similar councelors (two, for a graduating class of nearly three hundred). Sad to see this generation will be cheated of something I found beneficial.

kjswartz

Ah, I'm sorry that our school system provides such poor services to the disabled. That's sincere, and a situation I had not considered until you brought it up. There are others who must certainly feel the same as you; they might be reading these comments and glean some support from them.

Cutting counselors from schools is not a good solution. If anyone has recently had a bad experience, please notify the principal of the school and the school board with the details. The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

As for counseling students with disabilities, how can they understand their rights under ADA unless someone can be a resource, a counsel with training and experience? Hopefully, someone (such as yourself) will advocate based on their experiences. Change won't happen until somebody can make a cogent proposal.

alovelyplace

Here Naysayers: Here's your flyer in the mail that explains why we need to punish our BOE and public educators and be certain to cut out opportunities for all children except the wealthiest who can afford them privately. Second language, who needs it. My son wanted to learn chinese. The program was cut the second year. Who wins, Blaine and his 'born here' idiocy? You bet. Who loses? Our children. There went four years of their education we can't recoup. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.580866308633686.1073741879.183339988386322&type=1

watson4sherlock

High school students can take classes at Frederick Community College. Yes it costs money but even the poor have to scrape up the dough if we want our students to have a better future.

See http://www.frederick.edu/register_now/opencampus.aspx


Abraham Lincoln walked twenty miles to borrow a book. A self-made man or a spoon feed baby who's going to go the farthest?

See http://www.lib.niu.edu/1995/ihy950229.html

normalperson

Don't understand what you are talking about. Cut the non academic things and your child could have had Chinese. What is your point?

watson4sherlock

Chinese is an elective. It would have been cut anyway.

normalperson

You are funny!!!!!!!!

watson4sherlock

No you are thinking electives should be funded under MOE.

normalperson

You have to take electives in HS to get your diploma. It would be better to take that than phys Ed

watson4sherlock

But PE is not an elective so it has to be funded.

See http://hsaexam.org/img/HS_Grad_Req.pdf

watson4sherlock

Sports encourages academic participation plus there is a fee. Booster clubs also raise money to fund athletics.

public-redux

Don't you regard the National Assn of Sports Equipment Manufacturers as a biased source?

normalperson

Sports does not encourage academic participation. When we went to school you had to only have a C grade to play. That won't get you anywhere today. Also they would only take easy classes to stay above C. Why can't the Booster clubs take up all the costs????

watson4sherlock

Participation in extracurricular activities, in general, appears to minimize the risk of dropping out of school (Davalos, Chavez, & Guardiola, 1999; Jansen, 1992; Zaff et al., 2003) and participating in high school sports may be particularly effective in keeping students in school (National Federation of State High School Associations, 2008). In North Carolina, Whitley (1995) found lower dropout rates for athletes than for non-athletes, and Overton (2001) reported that 0.6% of high school athletes dropped out of school, compared to 10.32% of non-athletes.

See http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jsas/6776111.0004.108/--comparing-the-academic-performance-of-high-school-athletes?rgn=main;view=fulltext

normalperson

Should be a law you can't drop out of school. Join the military or go to school....simple solution. How can a parent let their kid drop out of school? Academics need to be pushed at a young age so they don't want to drop out. MY god PARENTS raise your child!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I guess its the teacher fault again

watson4sherlock

It is the law you have to go to school until 16. In 2017 it could be 18.

See http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-04-06/news/bs-md-compulsory-20120406_1_attendance-age-state-students-maryland-state-department


It should be the law that the military has to enlist people regardless of their manual, sensory, speaking, or cognitive disabilities.

alovelyplace

Don't miss! Tom Lynch, Chair, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce - White paper on the business community's priorities for education. Its a short and most powerful delivery to the BOCC. "Public education is one of, if not our most important asset as a county." http://youtu.be/1-dh47iA5g0

May 7, 2013 - Blaine Young and the Frederick County BoCC take a 'Closed for Public Education' approach in their FY2014 BoE budget, proposing only to fund maintenance of effort and little else. Thus prompting the Chamber of Commerce and local business they claim to be 'Open' for to attend the hearing to express the importance of investing in the county's future workforce from Pre-K to College.

The Complete Video of the Frederick County, MD 2014 Budget Hearing - May 7, 2013 http://frederick.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=5&clip_id=3795

watson4sherlock

I'm still waiting the the announcement they've run out of money so schools are closed for the rest of year.

Why should education have to live within a budget like the rest of government?

Maybe you should stop greasing the wheels on the buses so when they go round and round they squeak too.

Comment deleted.
normalperson

Talk to a teacher and you will find out what the problem really is with learning. PARENTS think the problem is the teacher and not them. Help your child with their homework and make them do more than watch TV

normalperson

How much does it cost to run the school buses for a 3 hour school day like last week ? I think we could save a lot there Mrs. Alban

watson4sherlock

The state requires them to have 180 school days per year.

randomfax

Wow, some of the comments here are pretty sad. Yeah, it is a thought to get rid of sports but school sports are a part of the fabric of America. Faced with a little adversity and the simple thing is, "get rid of it". I would proffer that the solution is rendered from someone who never played sports. Add to the equation that sports also play an important part of teaching many children important LIFE LESSONS and you end up at the place where you are no longer just talking about sports but a global approach to a well rounded, productive member of our community. As far as the % of the local budget that is used by the school system, well take a look at the enterprise; the # of buildings, the # of employees, the # of county residents directly affected on an almost daily basis, the training required. When it is all added up, yes it is a large entity and requires a substantial portion of the budget. The overall problem here is that the system basically needs to grovel for funding every year. This is probably difficult, especially in a well performing area and especially when you get a "mullet bunch" for the decision makers. Instead of funding for success you get the ideology (if they could actually understand ideology) of cut-cut-cut until you feel bone, unless of course you have a dollar or two that could benefit the idiots down the road. Here's an idea to throw at them, get rid of buses and have the kids take cabs to school. GUARANTEED FUNDING! Plain and simple, it is the glimpse of power that the 'cummishners' wield and they will not give that up. Get rid of the established process that requires the system to grovel for funding. Make the system their own taxing authority or tie funding to a static number or established % increase and allow the system to deal with budgeting to project able figures instead of groveling to a group of lowbrow tea-party-hijackers who are only in it for their own skin.

public-redux

"I would proffer that the solution is rendered from someone who never played sports. "

Wrong. I played school sports as did one of my kids. I speak from experience and knowledge.

As for your argument about life lessons, you have failed to address why those lessons can only be learned on school sports teams. What, kids can't learn life lessons on a club team, a city rec team, or a sandlot game? Please explain.

armillary

There will come a time when we hold the education of our children as a higher priority. I agree the pendulum has been swinging the wrong way for too long now.

Comment deleted.
armillary

It's true that some just refuse to learn.

thump1202

FCPS cannot continue to pretend to be immune from what is happening outside of their academic bubble. every year we hear about how teachers don't make enough, there's not enough funding for everything they want, well guess what. everyone has to get by with less buying power every year unless they are in a wealth class far above anyone in the public school system. children aren't going to suffer if their math textbook is a year old, they only have 2 pianos in music class instead of 10, or any other such nice to have nonsense. as for the salaries, i challenge FCPS employees to open up the classified section, interview and see exactly what kind of offers they get WITHIN frederick county in other positions. they will find that they have it pretty good and have enjoyed a level of insulation from the poor economy that most of us do not have. teachers are not the only ones who find they have to pay more every year to maintain the same quality of life, it's simply the world we now live in. until people wake up enough to throw out corporate hack politicians expect it to continue along these lines indefinitely.

normalperson

ok I've finally had enough. I grew up in frederick county and have a child in the school system. It's time we act like grown ups and do what is right. Let's teach the kids how to read , write , understand math and technology. We need to do like the rest of the world does and teach, teach and teach. The half days of school have gotten out of hand and why don't we really go to school year round. The solution is easy and no one want's to fix the problem. I know my answer is going to upset a lot of people but here it goes. REMOVE ALL NONEDUCATIONAL THINGS FROM SCHOOL------SPORTS PROGRAMS. We pay a lot for these programs that do nothing for the educational benefit of our children. A million for an artificial turf field will pay for the counselors and the list goes on and on. In other countries if you want to have your child play sports you pay for it yourself. A child should get a scholarship for academics and not sports that's
really stupid. Why don't someone do a study and find out how much money is spent on athletics and associated teaching for that and report it. I bet you WILL FIND THE MONEY!

public-redux

[thumbup]

There are plenty of private sector outlets for sports. We shouldn't be wasting tax dollars on sports and cheerleading in the public schools.

I'd love to see how much the BOE budget could be reduced without sports.

normalperson

Nobody wants to give that number because it is HUGE!!!!!!

public-redux

Did you see the article in The Atlantic a couple months ago about how much sports cost schools? A new superintendent of a poor Texas district found they were spending 4 or 5 times more per cheerleader than per math student.

He got rid of most if not all sports teams for at least a year or two. Academic results improved and disciplinary problems dropped like a rock.

normalperson

Try looking at the FCPS budget and you cannot figure this out. It would be nice to see if Mrs. Alban can provide a number. This number should include all cost of transportation, uniforms, coaches pay, athletic directors, maintenace of facilities , electricity to run them, initial costs to build, physical education teachers, all by line item. I bet it will take care of all budget shortfalls.

marylandmirage

Uh-oh. Sounds like we're getting around to that time of year when they are going to ask for more money. Positions furloughed? How many of those were teaching positions? Believe it or not, there are ways money could be saved. Who owns and is responsible for school busses and maintenance? This has been privatized successfully in many other places. That is just one example. Teachers are one of the most protected groups in the county - while other county employees were losing jobs right and left, the schools cut very little. Yet, they are unwilling to be forthcoming with information on families who are not here legally so that perhaps some federal funds could be obtained to help pay for educating these kids. English as a second language? Let's try for English as a first language - that might free up a few positions as well. At least this superintendent isn't quite as bad as the last one who suggested the parents go out and shovel snow so the kids could get to school. For the money we were paying that one, she should have picked up a snow shovel and helped out a little. I know I will probably be lambasted for this letter, but if you think about it, there are ways to save money in the public school system. Nobody wants to.

kjswartz

So you are willing to grow the costs of providing an education, and the FCPS budget, if they OUTSOURCE menial services? Or are you betting that outsourcing theses services will be provided at less cost?

If so, think a moment: what possible savings can there be by INSURING multiple corporate agents for all liabilities? How is the additional management structure possibly conducive to cost savings?

Ed Morgan

$800,000 for counselors? And Ms. Alban wonders why we taxpayers don't want her to manage any more of our money? That fact stands out in what reads, overall, as a whiny, groveling, elitist temper tantrum. Time out for Ms. Alban.

normalperson

If your going to post at least give a solution.

Ed Morgan

A fair request. Eliminate at least half the assistant principals and curriculum specialists and replace "counselors" with, wait for it, parents.

normalperson

You are a funny Man. Agree that there is toooooo much middle management at the FCPS. Cut some of them and pay the teachers more. Problem solved! They really don't want to solve the problems. I wonder if Mrs. Alban will respond to any of our posts?????? I know I'm hoping for tooooooo much.

watson4sherlock

Counselors are the only ones who actually make time to talk to parents. They are the omsbudmen to the education system.

Vice principals handle the discipline. Get rid of the principals.

Do teachers think if they were paid more they would have more time? We need more teachers who are curriculum specialists.

normalperson

Never had a problem sitting down with my childs teacher. They have always made time. Parents just need to ask what they can do to help the child instead of blaming the teacher

kjswartz

A counselor is a crucial piece to students' ability to get into college. The methods of getting into a good college is constantly evolving, and application process for student financial aid changes annually. Don't forget, there's CLEP, PSAT, SAT tests and the ASFAB. A good counselor with a manageable number of students is an invaluable ASSET.

These are not people just "phoning it it" - this is a worthy profession and a benefit multiplier.

Your teacher will not address any of these needs; only classroom behavior and test results.

normalperson

Don't need a counselor if the kids can't make it academically do you. I believe counsler are a vital part but lets fix the budget so kids have a chance to learn. GET RID OF THE SPORTS PROGRAMS AND THE HIGH COST. Giving kids a education instead of a false hope of making it in the sports world seems like a better solution

watson4sherlock

The teachers have no time because they teach ELO after school.

watson4sherlock

The teacher didn't say come after ELO she said I have no time.

normalperson

What is ELO?

normalperson

Does anybody know how many actually take this? And then more money for another bus ride too. My God I didn't know that one. That's like bus ride for summer school. We had to find a way there or we failed and take the grade over. We have gotten way to soft on parents and kids. Why don't they have ELO during lunch or gym??????

kjswartz

Electric Light Orchestra? They ROCK!!

Mmadono

You receive over half of the county taxes. In addition , you receive millions in state taxes. Your teachers deserve a raise, yes, so budget for it. It's completely within the BOE purvue. Raising the MOE is permanent and will stay at that level forever.

I like teachers , but every tear we deal with the same issue if pushing the issue to the Commissioners. Any raises has, and will always be based on the budget of the BOE, which is far higher than the county's. It's not that complicated .

kjswartz

So what you are proposing is that maintenance of effort is good enough for the next ten, twenty, fifty, and one hundred years. Do I understand your point?

watson4sherlock

Construction money isn't included in maintenance of effort.

Maintenance of effort means what it says.

Maintenance of effort is a state law designed to protect the quality of our children’s education by discouraging local governments from shortchanging our schools and students.

See http://www.mceanea.org/pdf/MOEWhitePaper.pdf

watson4sherlock

ELO is an after school tutoring program for students who are behind in language skills. It starts with a snack and ends with a late bus ride an hour later. Teachers get paid extra to teach it so no one wants to give it up. Whether or not it is beneficial no one wants to say.

kjswartz

Yeah, but there's no incentive to decrease classroom sizes. The student-to-teacher ratio will always rise to increase "efficiency" if teachers want an increase in pay.

Figure adding one child to a classroom every three years just so the teacher can get a pay raise. That is the true face of MoE.

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