In a Sept. 28 letter to the 24 public school superintendents in Maryland, President of the Maryland State Board of Education (MSBE) James H. DeGraffenreidt Jr. requested information regarding the classroom fees, related to instructional materials, that Maryland public schools charge, jump starting an investigation into whether such fees violate the principle of a state funded, free public education.
Participation in the SAT among black and Latino students in the class of 2010 decreased significantly in MCPS, despite the fact that the county celebrated record-breaking SAT scores among these same groups. However, the participation of blacks and Latinos who took the ACT rose.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) raised fares for rail services this summer to reduce a $189 million budget deficit for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, according to WMATA spokesperson Angela Gates.
MCPS will not receive $12 million from Maryland's successful bid to the federal Race to the Top (RTTT) competition after declining to sign the state's application. However, MCPS will still be forced to comply with a new state-wide teacher evaluation system that originally led officials to reject the application, said Maryland Department of Education spokesman William Reinhard. MCPS will not get another chance to receive Race to the Top funding, he said.
In late September, state and local governments pushed forward the progress of the planned Metro Purple Line and its stations. The changes included a $48 million increase in funding, a design proposal for the second Bethesda Metro entrance, and a solicitation for a developer to build a neighborhood at the New Carrollton Metro station.
The 2010-2011 school year has seen a marked increase in enrollment in MCPS from the previous year, coming to about 2,200 new students within the school system. This arrival of new students brings the total number enrolled in MCPS to 144,000 students.
The Montgomery College Board of Trustees voted to raise tuition for next year as a result of cuts to its funding from County Executive Isiah Leggett's proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2011, said Montgomery College director of media relations Elizabeth Homan. The college will receive about $15 million less than expected, forcing officials to raise tuition and make spending cuts, she said.
The Maryland State Board of Education approved a funding waiver on May 25, which will clear MCPS of its Maintenance of Effort (MoE) penalty. This will allow the county to fund education about $138 million lower than the Maintenance of Effort level for fiscal year (FY) 2011. The penalty, according Board of Education staff assistant Laura Steinberg, would have amounted to approximately $51.3 million.
Six classes have been cut from the course offerings for the 2010-2011 school year, according to counselor Marcia Johnson. In addition, seven classes, a combination of new and reinstated classes, have been added to the course list, she said.
The Maryland State Board of Education proposed regulations in April which would require that student performance account for 50 percent of teacher evaluations for all counties in the state of Maryland according to Maryland State Board of Education spokesperson William Reinhard.
Starting June 27, MCPS students must pay to travel on Metro and Ride-On buses due to the suspension of the Kids Ride Free program. The program, which gives students free public transportation on weekdays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., is one of the many projects the Mont
Superintendent Jerry Weast eliminated the Loss of Credit (LC) policy after receiving recommendations from the Loss of Credit Project Team, an MCPS work group that researched the policy for eighteen months. According to Suzanne Maxey, head of the team, Weast also implemented the work group's proposed policies designed to reduce absences and truancy.
The Maryland General Assembly met from Jan. 13 to April 12 this year to pass 810 bills and passed three particularly relevant to the Silver Spring community and students, concerning lowering the voter registration age, reducing gang activity and banning cell phone use while driving, all of which will take effect by July 1.
The entire Maryland universities system will raise tuition three percent for the 2010-2011 school year, ending a four-year freeze supported by the state budget, according to Monica West, director of budget for the University of Maryland.
Almost two months after the hall sweeps have been put in place, the administration, security team and teachers are contributing ideas to improve the system while also recognizing the noticeable effects it has had on students, according to assistant principal Andrew Coleman.
Members of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Level 4 classes conducted student-run workshops in other ESOL classes on March 22 and 23, emphasizing the importance of open communication and listening, according to ESOL teacher Ailish Zompa.
In January, eight Churchill students were caught illegally changing grades of 46 other students. According to Blair systems specialist Anne Wisniewski, MCPS has implemented and in the process of implementing new security measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Due to budgetary issues within Montgomery County, MCPS is planning to cut 252 teaching positions for the next school year, according to Marshall Spatz, director of the MCPS Office of Management, Budget and Planning. For the next school year, Principal Darryl Williams said that Blair will have four fewer teachers and one less media specialist.
The Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the MCPS operating budget for the Fiscal Year 2011 (FY 2011) on Feb. 17. The budget includes funds to meet the state's maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement, which mandates that the county spend at least the same amount as spent last year per student. The per capita requirement is approximately $11,249 according to Christopher Barclay, vice president of the Board.
The proposal to extend the deadline for awarding Maryland High School Assessment (HSA) waivers for an additional year is to be passed in the State Board of Education meeting on March 23, according to Scott Pfeifer, the Director of Instructional Assessment for the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).
An electronic survey was distributed to faculty asking for ideas on decreasing the school's increasing ineligibility rates, according to assistant principal Andrew Coleman. He distributed the survey in late February, after analyzing data based on last year and the first semester of this year.
Two Montgomery County Councilmembers have mounted efforts to revise the current capital budget to include $8 million for the Old Blair Auditorium Project (OBAP), Inc., which strives to renovate the auditorium currently on the campus of Sligo Creek Elementary School and Silver Spring International Middle School. In addition, two Maryland House of Delegates representatives have proposed renewed project funding at the state level.
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