The following is a statement from the board of the Prince George’s Association for Talented and Gifted Education, republished here with permission. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the owner of this website, Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools (PGCABS).
To view this statement on the PGTAG website, go here.
Statement from PGTAG Board
Supporting the County Executive’s FY’2015-16 Budget to Fund PGCPS’ Strategic Plan
April 12, 2015
Prince George’s County Association for Talented and Gifted Education
(PGTAG), during its April board meeting, agreed to support County Executive Rushern Baker’s fiscal year 2015-16 budget to fund PGCPS’ strategic plan.
For far too long, our school system has been requesting only the local funding for what it thought it might receive vs. what is really required to improve the quality of PGCPS. This practice of requesting the minimal funding needed to continue with the status quo is called “maintenance of effort.”
Our students deserve more than “maintenance of effort.” This constricted funding stream for our public education system has denied PGCPS the ability to gain momentum on a host of educational priorities critically needed to create and maintain the kind of quality education system that is needed for the children of our county.
We don’t take our decision making—to support funding the budget through the lifting of our local property tax cap—lightly. But the cap is partially to blame for our limited success in the past. The four-decades long cap on property taxes means that we’ve been funding schools at the same percentage of dollars as we were in 1978.
Also, we must acknowledge the fiscal reality of our school funding:
· Montgomery County Schools, for example, receives 35 percent of its funding from the state; 65 percent from its own local county.
· In Prince George’s County, the opposite is true: We receive 65 percent of our school funding from state and 35 percent from local government.
We think it’s time for our local community to invest in the type of public education system our children need. Regardless of whether or not county residents have school-aged children, all citizens benefit equally from a high quality public school system.
Our support for this strategic plan, however, does come with conditions:
o We expect our CEO, school board, and county executive to provide clear, transparent, and timely updates on school progress—specifically as it relates to professional development, programmatic improvements, and increased student performance—based on what this new budget will provide.
o We expect the County Council to revisit and assess property tax rates in 2018-19, when revenue from the local casino are anticipated to become available—a portion of which is expected to be shared with the school system.
We plan to hold our school and local officials accountable. Our children deserve no less.
3 thoughts on “Prince George’s Association for TAG Supports County Executive’s Proposal to Fund PGCPS”
I think this part is key: “We expect our CEO, school board, and county executive to provide clear, transparent, and timely updates on school progress—specifically as it relates to professional development, programmatic improvements, and increased student performance—based on what this new budget will provide.”
Of course, what exactly clear, transparent, and timely updates means is going to be different to everyone. I would love to see the money go directly to the students. I think it’s key that we, as community members, parents, and employees, have some way to hold the district accountable for their financial decisions. I’m willing to pay more in property taxes if the money is used on our students and not just the bureaucracy of the school system.
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I attended the board of education’s community meeting discussing the proposed budget last night. The increases are going to students. Whether they would lead to large improvements, I don’t know. But half the money is going to the individual schools’ school based budget (so allowing schools to hire more staff based on their local needs). Another 20% is going to increase salaries (we underpay teachers compared to neighboring districts). We could probably request a breakdown on what percentage of that goes to central administration salaries. Other costs include implementing PAR (the system for mentoring struggling teachers which allows the school to fire teachers who don’t improve with mentoring) and universal free in-classroom breakfast (apparently 70% of students in PGCPS qualify for free or reduced price meals).
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I’m so glad to here it’s going to the students. Hopefully the schools use the money wisely and increased salaries is minimal for central administration.