Making Sense of Student Based Budgeting

by Lori Morrow 

Last week, the principal at my daughter’s Prince George’s County elementary school presented information about Student Based Budgeting (SBB) at the monthly PTA meeting. She discussed projected enrollment, the current year’s staffing, and goals for next year.

Since the 2012-13 School Year, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) have used the SBB budget model, which gives principals more control over staffing at their schools. In late winter, principals receive their projected enrollment and funding for the next school year. The school is allocated a base amount for each student, with additional funding for students in early grades, english-language learners, and lower performance levels.

Through collaboration with staff and inputs from the community, principals must choose staffing that will work best to meet the needs and goals of the school. During our PTA Meeting, the principal asked parents for feedback in six areas: Academics/Instruction; School Safety; Attendance/Incentives; School Climate; Building Maintenance; & Parent Involvement. She will use these inputs to balance staffing and resources in her budget.

In the SBB formula, some positions are classified as “Locked,” meaning that the positions and resources are funded and staffed by PGCPS central office. This includes staffing for Principals, Special Education, Food Services, and certain positions in Specialty Programs. Certain positions are “Locked+”, which means that central office staffs a minimum for these positions, but Principals can supplement with SBB funds. One such position is Media Specialist. All remaining positions are “Unlocked” and must be purchased through the school’s SBB allocation.

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Prince George’s Schools Budget Questions Answered for FY 2019

Earlier this year, members of Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools submitted questions about the Fiscal Year 2019 proposed operating budget for Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGPCS). The Office of Budget and Management Services, under the direction of John Pfister, has prepared answers.

The questions and their answers are found below (and available in PDF format here). It may be helpful to refer to the proposed Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2018, found here.

1. What is the average per student cost of the specialty programs below relative to the cost at neighborhood schools without any additional programs?

  • Language immersion
  • Performing Arts
  • TAG [Talented and Gifted]
  • Montessori

The average per student cost for specialty programs is provided below:

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2. Does PGCPS have non-resident students that attend PGCPS schools (from DC, adjacent counties)? If so, how much funding does PGCPS receive from those jurisdictions?

In FY 2017, Prince George’s County Public Schools received the following funding from other jurisdictions for non-resident students:

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NOTE: Students identified in this chart may be prorated based on the days in a non-resident status.

3. Are there any programs/resources geared towards expanding language exposure in neighborhood elementary schools?

It is the intent of this administration, when financially feasible, to expand language programs at the elementary school level. Currently, the following schools offer a world language.

Barack Obama ES
Judith P. Hoyer Montessori
Montpelier ES
Melwood ES
Rosaryville ES
Patuxent ES
Oaklands ES
Phyllis E. Williams Spanish Immersion
Fort Foote ES
University Park ES
Ardmore ES
Berwyn Heights ES
Paint Branch ES
Greenbelt ES
Accokeek Academy
Capitol Heights ES
Glenarden Woods ES
Heather Hills ES
Highland Park ES
Longfields ES
Mattaponi ES
Valley View ES
John Hanson Montessori
Robert Goddard Montessori

4. Does funding for expansion/continuity of specialty program include additional transportation needs?

The funds to support the expansion/continuity of specialty programs does, when necessary, include additional transportation needs. The expansions that are currently included in the FY 2019 Proposed Budget, however, do not require additional transportation funds.

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Prince George’s Delegation Considers Eleven Education Bills

by Lori Morrow

Delegate Angela Angel (D-25) hosted a legislative update at the Prince George’s County Education Association (PGCEA) on February 28 to discuss the eleven education bills pending before the Prince George’s Delegation this session.Over twenty community Image 2-20-16 at 4.28 PMmembers attended to learn more about the legislation and ask questions of the delegate. Slides were presented with a brief synopsis of each of the bills.

Theresa Dudley, President of the PGCEA, spoke briefly to open the forum. Ms. Dudley encouraged everyone to contact state senators in favor of House Bill (HB) 196, which would fully repeal the 2013 changes to the Prince George’s County Board of Education governance structure. She expressed concern that the current structure politicizes the school board and does not provide proper checks and balances.

Throughout the presentation, Delegate Angel emphasized the need for the community to be involved in the legislative process. She said her purpose in hosting the session was to “educate, engage, and empower.” The most powerful statement is when community members show up in Annapolis during the legislative session, but she encouraged everyone to call, email and use social media to reach out to representatives to share their support or opposition.

  • HB 216, Student Hearing and Vision Screenings: Delegate Angel supports this bill that would help identify how many students are not getting the services they need despite screenings. A community member asked why legislation is required to do this, but the delegate explained that the data collected can be used to find out why students aren’t getting the services or figure out ways to fund services for families that cannot afford them.
  • HB 215, Elementary School Limit on Class Size: Delegate Angel stated that this is likely to pass and has already been passed by the Prince George’s House Delegation. She believes that Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) currently has the capacity to meet this requirement. (Local bills that are not passed by PGC Delegation will not go forward in the legislative process.)
  • HB 214, Equity in Education: This bill was created to address an issue of charter schools that require higher cost logo uniforms that are not widely available. Delegate Angel says some schools have already revised their uniform requirements.
  • HB 185, Students With Disability Report: This bill would collect data to find out how many student accessibility needs are actually being met.
  • HB 186/207/196, Related to PGCPS Governance: Delegate Angel explained that these bills overlap and that if multiple bills pass, they would likely be amended or merged. HB 196 would fully repeal 2013 changes to the Board of Education structure. Theresa Dudley and Bob Ross, NAACP, expressed their opposition to HB 186, which addresses only the 2/3 voting requirement to override the CEO’s decision and the selection of the vice chair. To date, the PGC House Delegation has passed only HB186.
  • HB 184, PGCPS Inspector General: Delegate Angel explained that this is separate from the Inspector General bill proposed by the Governor. This IG would report to the PGCPS Board of Education and County Council.  A question was asked relative to the Internal Audit office that already exists, but she explained that Internal Audit does not report beyond the school system.  Per the fiscal note, the IG would have six full-time positions and be funded from the PGCPS budget.
  • HB 241, Telecommunications Transmission Facility on School Grounds: This bill would dictate public notification for companies proposing to install cel towers on a school.

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Del. Barnes Forms Parent Involvement and Education Advisory Committee

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by Lori Morrow

Over forty Prince George’s County parents, staff, community advocates and elected officials gathered at the TGI Friday’s in Forestville, Maryland on Saturday, February 17 to find out more about Delegate Dr. Darryl Barnes’s Parent Involvement and Education Advisory Committee.

Led by Chair Earnest Moore and Vice Chair Tramaine Crawford, the advisory committee was established to “tackle lingering issues in the Prince George’s County Education System.”

Delegate Barnes emphasized that the focus of the committee is not to “throw stones,” but rather to develop ideas and solutions that can help move our system forward. Collaboration was a recurring theme throughout the meeting. Individuals were charged to bring together our diverse knowledge and resources, as well as learn from those who have come before us. Ultimately, the goal is for the committee to present findings and recommendations to decision-makers including the County Council, Board of Education, and General Assembly as appropriate.

Those present for the planning breakfast were invited to volunteer for at least one of the seven subcommittees that most fit their expertise or passion. Mr. Crawford introduced the seven topics: Special Education; Restorative Practices and Bullying; Charter and Public School Law; Teacher and Administrator Policy/ Betterment; Public School Improvement; Minority Male Involvement/Mentorship; and English Language Learners. Subcommittees will meet via teleconference or in person, with initial tasks to choose and chair and develop work plans and timelines. The full advisory committee will meet again in approximately 30 days to share updates with the Chairs and Delegate Barnes.

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Three Upcoming Opportunities to Advocate for School Funding


by Llew Brown

In our personal life, we have lots of wants, but limited resources require us to make tough choices. In the end, the way we spend our time and money reveals our priorities.  If you want to shape the school system’s priorities for next year and beyond, follow these three tips and let your voice be heard:

#1: Testify at a School Board Hearing

The last of three Budget Public Hearings to be held by the school board this year is on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 7:00 PM at Oxon Hill High School. If you register in advance to speak, you have three minutes to voice your concerns directly to the school board and CEO Kevin Maxwell. Find the proposed budget and timeline here:

#2: Speak at one of County Executive Baker’s Budget Listening Sessions

The next opportunity is  February 8, 2017, at Prince George’s Community College. To view dates for additional sessions, and to register to speak for three minutes, go here:

The County Council is hosting a Budget Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, February 20th

#3: Contact your State Legislator 

Several Maryland legislators are proposing changes intended to channel more casino revenues towards  public schools.  Here’s one article discussing the issue:

Learn what legislative district you belong to here, then follow the link below to contact your legislator and share your opinion on this issue.

Don’t delay: the budget bill for the current legislative session is due to be decided by April, 2018.

Prince George’s Schools Leaders Must Be Accountable to Voters, Not Politicians

Image 2-20-16 at 4.28 PMThe following is written testimony presented to the Prince George’s County Delegation of the Maryland General ASsembly. Lori Morrow is a current member of the PGCPS Board of Education Parent and Community Advisory Council mentioned on Page 17 of the House Bill 1107 (HB 1107) Final Report. All opinions expressed in this testimony are the author’s own.

by Lori Morrow

I submit this testimony in support of bill PG 509-18, to restore the Board of Education’s authority to select its own chair and vice chair and appoint the CEO. In addition, I support the repeal of HB1107 and the return to an elected school board in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) via bill PG 511-18.

I have reviewed the House Bill 1107 Final Report, and do not discount the many programs and initiatives that have been implemented in PGCPS these past few years. Unfortunately the positives have been significantly overshadowed by the challenges: the loss of the Head Start grant; the Judge Sylvania Woods incident; the subsequent administrative leave debacle; and the graduation rate audits. The report does not provide adequate support to show that the current governance structure has had a positive impact on PGCPS. Instead I have heard the exact opposite from many parents and community members. There is an overwhelming sense that the system is failing in terms of transparency and accountability because PGCPS leadership is responsible to county politicians instead of residents.

Regardless of original intention, the current structure and concentration of power in the office of the county executive serves as a political distraction that prevents our system from moving forward. Board members who were appointed or elected with the support of the county executive are viewed as beholden to the county government and not fully trusted. Board members elected without the support of the county executive are labeled as rebels or dissidents, and marginalized in the operations of the school board. In either case, the power of the individual county residents has been diluted.

The June 2017 resignation letter submitted by Dr. Beverly Anderson, an appointed member of the Board of Education, reflected many of my own observations: “We have a dysfunctional board possibly because too many of the members are compromised or have conflicts of interest; an angry student body because we have not figured out how to incorporate some of their good ideas into our practices; unhappy parents because we do not solve in an efficient manner classroom or administrative problems impacting their children; and an apathetic teaching force. This scenario must change!”

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Notes on the Jan. 23 Budget Hearing for FY 2019

by Laura Rammelsberg

The Prince George’s County Board of Education held its first public hearing on the fiscal year 2019 operating budget on January 23, at Laurel High School. A Board of Education budget work session (video here) immediately preceded the hearing.

Prince George’s County Public Schools Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget Public Hearing

Meeting called to order at 7:15 pm


Segun C. Eubanks, Ed.D, Board Chair/Appointed Member

Carolyn Boston, BOE Vice Chair, District 6

David Murray, District 1

Lupi Quinteros-Grady, District 2
Dinora A. Hernandez, Esq. District 3 – not present
Patricia Eubanks, District 4
Raaheela Ahmed, District 5
K. Alexander Wallace, District 7  – not present

Sonya Williams, District 9

Edward Burroughs III, District 8

Mary Kingston Roche, Appointed Member  – not present

Dr. Donna Wiseman, Appointed Member – not present
Curtis Valentine, M.P.P., Appointed Member – not present
Amanya Paige, Student Member – not present

Chief Executive Officer Kevin M. Maxwell, Ph.D.

Review of Budget Process

At 1:22 in the video. Dr. Eubanks: Feb 22 Board Meeting is when they will adopt the budget. It will then be sent to County Executive Baker and presented to the county council in March of 2018. The county council must adopt budget and it will be sent to the state legislature in April 2018. The board of education will then reconcile with the county’s approved budget, and it will be accepted at a board meeting in June of 2018.

Powerpoint from Budget Work Session is in Boarddocs will be posted in a few days.

***Fewer than 25 people in attendance***

***Only ONE (1) PGCPS Parent made a public comment***

Public Comments: Three Registered Speakers

  • At 4:27. Teresa Dudley, President Prince Georges County Educator’s Association (PGCEA) – Here to address four issues:
  1. Peer Assistance and Review Program (helps new teachers in the first three years of their teaching career). This year, there has been very high turnover rate for new teachers – 15%.  30% of these are conditional teachers. Peer Assistant and Review Coaches are needed to teach basic pedagogy and bring them to speed of review process in county. The conditional teachers don’t have that training and need classes in the school system, so that they stay in the system.
  2. Community Schools & Restorative Practices.
  3. ESSA Re-Authorization. A Policy is coming before the Board that needs to be instituted for pilot program.  And need to make sure they are ready from upcoming ESSA specifics coming back from state and the federal government and money set aside for Committees to deal with that.
  4. Compensation and Working Conditions. Negotiated Agreement – Step increase and retirement incentives. They want to make sure that stays in the budget as well.
  • At 8:22. Representative of Saturday School Program, that works with 150+ PGCPS students at High Point High School since 2015. Modeled after program started in Montgomery County. Community Work Advance partnered with the school system in this effort. 30% improvement in ath proficiency. They request funding to renew program at High Point High School for 2 years and open a second site at Crossland High School. Each feeder system or host school requires an annual budget of $175,000.
  • At 11:25. Parent of Saturday School student testified to the benefits of the program for her daughter. Daughter was motivated and looks forward to every Saturday. Now an honors math student. Parents are proud of her, but give credit to Saturday School for her success. She encourages BOE to support the continuation of this program. The parents are engaged and kept well-informed by the Saturday School team.

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