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.
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]
The average per student cost for specialty programs is provided below:
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:
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.
Judith P. Hoyer Montessori
Phyllis E. Williams Spanish Immersion
Fort Foote ES
University Park ES
Berwyn Heights ES
Capitol Heights ES
Glenarden Woods ES
Heather Hills ES
Highland Park 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.
5. The FY 2019 Budget in Brief document states: “We have taken steps to streamline processes, increase efficiency and reduce costs where we can, such as negotiating lower costs with health care providers and reviewing key business processes.” Can you please detail how much was achieved in savings with the health care provider negotiations? And please detail what specific “key business processes” were reviewed and how much was achieved in financial savings? Were other significant savings achieved elsewhere in the budget?
The implementation of the new health care contract provided cost efficiencies and increased savings built around our current design package. The biggest design changes to our plan included moving Medicare retirees to an Employer Group Waiver Plan (EGWP) that allows PGCPS to leverage Medicare Part D revenues from pharmacies and the Federal Government in the prescription plan and the inclusion of Kaiser Permanente once again in the medical plan. The inclusion of Kaiser Permanente will provide competitive pricing to employees offered at the same cost sharing basis to employees as the Carefirst and Caremark plans.
- A permanent full-time on-site wellness resource will be provided to assist in administering and managing wellness offerings;
- Wellness credits available to PGCPS to make certain wellness initiatives available to employees;
- At no additional cost, agreement to accept regular data feeds from our Rx vendor to enhance Carefirst’s ability to provide disease management programs for our workforce; and
- Improved reporting capabilities, and training to PGCPS employees to access Carefirst’s portal that will allow staff to analyze claims and other data in real time.
- Multiple year rate guarantees and rebate guarantees
- Performance Guarantees related to EGWP plan implementation
- A variety of enhanced clinical programs
- Three year rate guarantees with specific rates caps for years four through eight should PGCPS choose to extend;
- Wellness allowances annually to be used as PGCPS decides; and
- Performance guarantees.
- Performance guarantees related to implementation and on-going plan administration; and
- A pre-implementation audit allowance to ensure that the plan is set up with the appropriate eligibility and plan design rules, etc.
Other key business process improvements are:
- Improvement and streamlining the budget development process by creating budget submission templates that include three years of historical budget and actual expenditures data which assists account managers with budget needs and requests;
- Development of an account management application that allows account managers real time encumbrance and expenditure details to assist with monitoring and managing budgeted funds in a timely and more efficient manner. This application is in the final phases and will be implemented in the summer/fall of 2018;
- Initial phase of the implementation of the Purchasing Card (PCard) program. This initiative will eliminate low dollar purchase orders, by allowing account managers to make purchase directly. This will allow the Purchasing department more time to review high dollar items in a more effective and timely manner;
- Increased safety training to employees in an effort to reduce workers compensation costs;
- Electronic delivery of tax documents (Payroll); and
- Document management (scanning of all Accounts Payable invoices).
6. In the Special Education budget, PGCPS continues to pay over $50 million to private schools to provide services. Has PGCPS analyzed if it would be more cost effective for the system to provide some of these services itself?
The Department of Special Education, as part of the plan to improve and expand high quality special education services within the public school system, is currently examining and engaging in dialogue in the areas which will ultimately reduce the non-public budget. The following critical areas under study are provided below:
- Expanding access to the general education setting for students with Specific Learning Disabilities who constitute a disproportionate number of students currently enrolled in non-public schools;
- Convening a panel of experts in the selection and use of reading interventions to ensure students with disabilities have access to such resources daily to improve their performance in this area;
- Utilizing an expert in the field of autism to assist the Department of Special Education in the development of improved services for students with autism who are significantly cognitively disabled;
- Increasing the use of behavior specialists effective for the 2018-2019 school year to support school-based staff members in the use of evidenced-based practices to address the social-emotional needs of disabled and non-disabled students;
- Continue the Pathways Preventative Partnership for the 2017-2018 school year. PGCPS has had a long-standing preventative partnership (supported by MSDE) with Pathways to provide additional resources to students with autism in grades K – 1st that are experiencing social/emotional difficulties and presenting with behavioral challenges in their public school program. The preventative partnership is geared toward maintaining students in a lesser restrictive environment; thus, reducing the number of students requiring nonpublic placement; and
- Exploring new preventative partnerships. For the 2018-2019 [school year], PGCPS is exploring a preventative partnership targeting students with autism in grades K-8. Again, the goal of this partnership would be to maintain students in a lesser restrictive environment and build the capacity of PGCPS educators to provide the necessary behavioral supports for students with autism.
7. Proposed program enhancements include 17 additional positions for language immersion Which schools/programs are these new proposed positions for?
The addition of 17.00 FTE [full-time equivalent positions] in the FY 2019 proposed budget are for the Spanish and Chinese immersion programs. If approved, the proposed positions will be allocated as follows:
8. Proposed program enhancements include two additional world language positions. What languages are these positions for and in which schools?
The two additional proposed world language positions will support a 0.50 Spanish Classroom Teacher at Barack Obama Elementary, 0.50 Italian Classroom Teacher at Northview Elementary and 1.00 Resource Teacher in the World Language Office to provide additional support to schools.
9. In the proposed enhancements, what is the “Academic Validation Program”?
The Academic Validation Program (AVP) is a bridge to ensure all students have a fair opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills if traditional assessments are not an effective measure. Students who do not successfully demonstrate proficiency on the Maryland High School Assessment/PARCC once may participate in the Bridge Plan for academic validation process and shall be provided at least one opportunity to retake the appropriate assessment in accordance with the testing schedule issued by the Maryland State Department of Education.
The requested funds for the 2018-2019 school year will provide targeted support to schools’ Multiple Pathways to Success (MPTS) and AVP programs by providing:
- Technical assistance to school based MPTS coordinators (schools are divided by geographic area)
- Technical assistance to school based AVP coordinators
- Support 2018-2019 program expansion to support ESOL, special education
- Monitoring of student enrollment in full/quarter recovery and original credit programs
- Collection and analysis of online course data
- Monitoring program implementation with vendors
- Manage infrastructure and entry of students into course modules
- Monitor weekly progress and utilization reports
- Monthly professional development with school based MPTS coordinator
- Monitoring financial expenditures and fee collection at each high school for MPTS
- Collaboration with the Department of Testing re: AVP projects and C and Ire: course alignment
- Provide oversight for EOSSS and summer school session 2 Blended Learning programs
- Monitor student progress on eligibility, completion and pass rates of English 10 and Algebra 1
- Monitor student pass rate on Government H.S.S. and eligibility for AVP projects
- Collaborate with Associate Superintendent, school principals and coordinators on state waivers
- Prepare for exponential increase of AVP projects with the administration of PARCC assessments
The FY 2019 proposed budget includes $200,000 in part-time funds to support the academic validation program.
10. In the proposed program enhancements for Area Offices, there are significant staff additions for Alternative Educational Supports, ESSA Supports, and Staffing and Supports. What exactly do these enhancements provide?
Provided below are the 12.00 FTE proposed for Alternative Education Supports for FY 2019:
The pupil personnel workers will work for the Office of Appeals as Hearing Officers and will perform long- term hearings and oversee student progress and alternative matriculation of students unable to remain at their home school or in an alternative school. These positions have been proposed to address student expulsion options, and research and implement additional alternative supports for students in lieu of expulsion.
The behavior intervention specialists, social workers, data coach, and instructional lead teacher will provide wrap around services for students in alternative schools and would be distributed throughout the district’s alternative schools and/or location based on need.
There are two categories of school criteria that require districts to develop a plan for improvement: Comprehensive Support and Improvement School (CSI), which are 70 schools MSDE have identified in the state with consistently underperforming student groups for two or more years and schools with low performing student groups performing the same or worse than the lowest 50% of Title I schools in the State; or Targeted Support and Improvement Schools (TSI) which are chronically low performing Title I schools not showing improvement after two years.
School districts with schools that are identified as a TSI or CSI will be required to develop plans for improvement for each school. The plans are required to have evidence-based strategies per the framework of Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement (Turnaround Leadership, Talent Development, Instructional Transformation, and Culture Shift). PGCPS has reviewed school performance data and in anticipation of MSDE’s determinations, $2.2 million and 20.00 FTE are to develop and address the needs of ESSA schools.
The positions provided below are preliminary and subject to change once PGCPS receives MSDE’s final determination of ESSA schools:
11. In the proposed program enhancements, where will the proposed additional staffing (12 positions) be placed and what security equipment purchases are being proposed?
The 12.00 additional FTE included in the FY 2019 Proposed budget will be utilized at the central office to cover absenteeism, high risk schools, and other issues that occur requiring additional staff.
The funds allocated for security equipment will be utilized to purchase new and replacement cameras as well as new and replacement electronic entry mechanisms at our facilities.
12. In the proposed program enhancements, what is “Performance Matters” (in Testing, Research, and Evaluation)?
Performance Matters is an Instructional data management and reporting platform used to administer assessments and provide data analysis for a variety of stakeholders including: teachers, administrators, and district staff. Performance Matters is utilized by PGCPS to administer Student Learning Objectives (SLO), common assessments, unit tests, and other district assessments. Local, district, state and national assessment data is reported in Performance Matters. The tools and reports in the system allow teachers and staff to use data to improve instruction.