This article brought to you by Informed Carroll County.
Citizen Report: The top take-a-ways from the CCPS Board of Education meeting on May 10, 2023:
Teacher and Administrator of the Year Awards: A large portion of this month’s Board of Education meeting was presenting awards to Teachers, Administrators, and other educators throughout the County. Congratulations to Lauren Stevens, a science teacher at Manchester Valley High School, who was awarded the Carroll County Teacher of the Year for 2023 award.
Public Speakers: During the public speaking opportunities of the meeting, there were a few who took advantage of having the board hear them. One parent spoke of the need for athletic trainers in the school system. This parent requested that CCPS hire full-time trainers to work with student athletes as other districts have this available to them. A junior from a county high school spoke about the gap of instruction for music classes and was requesting more options for students. The third speaker was a parent who provided physical books for the board to review which contained vulgar and explicit details of violent sexual acts. This parent requested that an audit of the available books within the school system be done as she felt CCPS was in violation of its own policies regarding indecent and obscene information.
Employee Groups: Other speakers included Cindy Porter from CASE (Carroll Association of School Employees), Celeste Jordan from CCEA (Carroll County Education Association) and Diane Gurdy (may have last name wrong) from the School Bus Contractors Association all spoke during the meeting. Mrs. Porter discussed the ongoing problem with staff safety due to students’ behavior. Mrs. Gurdy asked the board to approve the FY 2024 Transportation Services Reimbursement Formula as bus contractors have had additional expenses due to mandated additional sick time requirement, increase in diesel prices and an ongoing shortage of bus drivers.
Board Member Activities: Each board member then took a few minutes to discuss what they have done relating to the schools since the last meeting. Of note, Mrs. McCabe attended the opening of the STEM Center at Elmer Wolfe Elementary School on May 9, 2023. This was made possible from a grant from the Calert Foundation and the Ripken Foundation. STEM Centers are planned to be in each elementary and middle school in the county by next spring. Marsha Herbert attended the Maryland State Board of Education Meeting on April 23, 2023 and read a statement prepared representing CCPS. She stated that the Blueprint was putting Carroll County in a crisis situation and asked for assistance from Maryland State. She asked for flexibility in the requirements and more time to implement the requirements before money is taken away. Mrs. Herbert advised CCPS BOE that her plea was heard, and representatives are planning to come to Carroll County to help with Blueprint Implementation. The new East Middle School is opening as planned and an Open House is scheduled for June 1st from 5-8 pm at the OLD East Middle School. No formal tours will be given but the public is welcome to come walk the halls.
Construction Update: A $1 million grant was awarded to the Capitol Improvement Project budget by the Interagency Commission of School Construction or the IAC. This will be utilized for the “Tech Center” project.
A Legislative Summary was produced by John O’Neill and the board previously reviewed and discussed that document.
Personnel Transfer Report: Superintendent McCabe provided the names of personnel that will be reassigned in her Personnel Transfer Report.
The Award of Bids was reviewed. The list includes:
- Paving at Liberty HS
- Relocatable classroom (1)
- Music equipment and furniture for the new East Middle School
- HVAC at South Carroll High School
- Emergency plumbing repairs at South Carroll High School
- Food service equipment at 4 schools
- Replacement of emergency generator at Elmer Wolfe
- Stadium seating replacement at Liberty High School
- Music cabinets at Westminster High School
- Office supplies contract for CCPS
- Medicaid Processing software
- Athletic supplies and equipment
- AV Contract for CCPS
Board members asked questions for clarity on some of these items. Of note, the price for the relocatable classroom has doubled since last year. The stadium seating standards have changed so expectations are other stadiums will need to be upgraded in the coming years. And the Medicaid processing software cost is $45,000 but the approximate revenue of claims processed is $1.5 million.
FY 2024 Update: The Final FY 2024 budget is $36 million over last year’s budget. The driving factors of this include inflation, Blueprint requirements (Dual enrollment/AP, career counseling, TSI, PreK full day), transportation costs, Substitute teacher rate, Staffing and Employee compensation. There is $11.4 million of new revenue but these are restricted funds that must be used in Compensatory Education. There are 16 schools identified with those needs and 124 new FTE’s consisting of counselors, OT/PT and Special Education resources as well as teachers will be hired. The hiring process will begin this summer and continue until the positions have been filled or reevaluation is made that the position is no longer necessary.
Filing these positions will be difficult for Carroll County as the market is limited for these professionals and other districts are looking to fill the same positions. Carroll County receives additional restricted funds for Title 1 schools and due to new Medicaid laws, 2 additional schools have been identified as Title 1 for the next school year.
The total budget for FY 2024 CCPS is $442,581,855 of which $162 million is salaries and wages.
All budgets were passed unanimously during this meeting.
To conclude, Mr. Whisler, Mrs. Herbert and Mrs. Sivigny praised the Commissioners for their work on the FY 2024 budget and partnership they have with CCPS. Commissioner Vigliotti stated that due to the complexity of the Blueprint mandates, the Commissioners plan to begin work on the FY 2025 budget this summer. Mrs. Sivigny requested a joint meeting with the CCPS BOE, Commissioners and Delegates again as the previous meeting was very beneficial to understanding the implementation of the Blueprint.
The next meeting is scheduled for June 7, 2023. Public comment registration will be June 6, 2023