As a service to our readers, The Business Monthly asked Howard County Board of Education candidates running in the 2020 Primary Election to provide responses to a short questionnaire. Their unedited responses follow. This Voters’ Guide includes only the candidates running in the primary election.
What will be your number one priority as a member of the Board of Education?
I would like to see a review of the overall school system with the goal of identifying pain points the system has been dealing with and assess the root causes of these symptoms. These root causes will then be analyzed, and steps prioritized to repair these issues. Some examples of root cause issues that I can see being identified are funding formulas and diversity, inclusion and tolerance initiatives. The Board should create policies to support funding formulas towards school demographic-based needs. More specifically, the policies should identify and implement funding formulas, not just on overall enrollment projections, but specific to programs that target more vulnerable populations so that these programs are supported, and the students are graduating with success. I will prioritize diversity, inclusion, and tolerance initiatives, promote diverse curriculum offerings and align anti-bias training and workshops for whole-school culture building that is welcoming.
What budget experience do you have that will help the Howard County Public School System?
I have actively supported public education for many years both in the classroom and in BoE advisory roles as 1st Vice Chair for the Community Advisory Council and as a representative on the Operating Budget Review Committee. This experience gave me a deep understanding of historical budget recommendations for the BoE, how those recommendations were received, and the opportunity to suggest recommendations I felt would be influential to the BOE budget discussions. In my professional career, I have run and managed a small business and have also been a lead member on writing and responding to RFQ’s and RFP’s. This professional experience will help me to navigate the HCPSS budget from multiple perspectives.
What changes will you offer to how Title 1 funding is being used?
The school system determines which elementary schools receive the Title1 funding by looking at the distribution of FARM’s percentages across schools and has supported for many years using a naturally occurring gap to identify the TITLE 1 schools. These schools receive funds for whole school programs they feel their school population needs. Title 1 schools have between 40 percent to just about 70 percent FARMs. I believe this is a fair methodology to distribute this funding, however I also see a significant jump in the distribution of FARMs percentages around the 60 percent rate. I would like to see some analysis on supporting this additional jump in the school systems distribution of funding. There should also be consideration in analysis the percentage of English Language Learners, students receiving special education services, and actual class sizes within the school. Title 1 funding is carried specifically for students that are homeless, this allocation should continue.