Three things to know about this week’s Board of Education meeting

By Caitlyn Freeman 

The Board of Education for Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) conducted their bi-weekly meeting on Wednesday, January 23rd. Here are three important takeaways from Wednesday’s meeting.

1. Anne Arundel County revenue projections for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 discussed by county officials

Chief Administrative Officer, Ben Birge, and Acting Budget Officer, Jessica Leys from County Executive Steuart Pittman’s Executive Branch spoke at Wednesday’s meeting about the county’s projected revenue for FY2019 and FY2020 as well as a recap of FY2017 and FY2018.

“As the board continues deliberations on its fiscal year 2020 operations and capital budget request, the Board of Education, led by Mr. Bob Leib, has asked to be provided with updated information regarding anticipated county revenues for the coming fiscal year,” said board President Julie Hummer.

“We appreciate the rather unusual request that came from the board. It’s not often that we come and talk about the budget but, given the board’s new model of being a largely elected board now and the County Executive wanting to establish new working relationships, we thought this was a good opportunity to come and present to you,” Birge said.

According to the presentation given by Leys, during FY2017, the county generated an operating revenue of $1,469.2 million. In FY2018, the total operating revenue for the county was $1,508.2 million, a $39 million increase from the previous fiscal year.  The county estimates the total operating revenue to be $1,531.4 million for FY2019.

During FY2019, AACPS is set to receive $687.1 million directly from the county and receive $81.3 million from other county funding. In total, the county plans to fund AACPS a total of $788 million, which accounts for 51.5% of the county’s overall budget.

In FY2020, the county has estimated a revenue increase of $40-50 million.

“We’re expecting a similar performance in the revenue side, nothing has indicated very early on that we are going to exceed revenue estimates by an exorbitant amount of money,” Leys said.

Leys added that the county has struggled with the economic uncertainties such as the possibility of another recession and the possibility of the federal government implementing changes in taxes and interest rates.

There is currently $71 million in the county’s revenue reserve, which acts as a rainy-day fund.

The county’s full budget plan for FY2019 can be found at

2. Members of the board vote on which redistricting plans for Crofton high school move to public hearing 

On Wednesday evening community members from the Arundel feeder system, which includes Arundel High, Crofton Area High, Arundel Middle, Crofton Elementary, Four Seasons Elementary, Nantucket Elementary, Odenton Elementary, Piney Orchard Elementary, and Waugh Chapel Elementary, attended the meeting to voice their opinions and watch as members of the Board of Education voted on which redistricting options to bundle and send to public hearing.

After much deliberation and heated discussion between the members of the board, they voted on a motion to send plans one, two, three, and five forward. The motion passed 8-1.

The board decided against a fifth option that would broaden the redistricting scope to include students at Odenton, Waugh Chapel, and Four Seasons Elementary, according to a January 24th Capital Gazette article.

A summary of each plan is listed below:

Option 1 (Arlotto’s recommendation): 

All Crofton Elementary students who reside in the Two Rivers (1038B) and Waugh Chapel (1038C) will be temporarily moved to Piney Orchard Elementary until West County Elementary is built. These students will then move on to attend Arundel Middle and Arundel High.

Option 2 (created by community members):

Redistrict all Crofton Elementary students who reside in Waugh Chapel (1038C) to Crofton Meadows Elementary, Crofton Middle, and then to Crofton Area High School until West County Elementary is built.

Option 3 (A modified version of the redistricting committee’s Group 1, Option 1): 

All Crofton Elementary students who reside in the Two Rivers (1038B) and Waugh Chapel (1038C) will be temporarily moved to Piney Orchard Elementary until West County Elementary is built. These students will then move on to attend Arundel Middle and Arundel High.

Option 4

Students who reside in Two Rivers (1038B) and Waugh Chapel (1038C) are allowed to choose which elementary school, Piney orchard or Crofton Elementarty, they attend. The students would go on to attend either Crofton or Arundel Middle then attend Arundel High.

Unlike option four, options one, two, and three do not include grandfathering clauses.  According to all four of the redistricting plans, students from both Arundel High and South River High will be gradually phased into the new high school by grade level.

A public briefing and hearing will be held February 12th, At Arundel High starting at 7 p.m.  At this meeting, the public may ask clarifying questions but are prohibited from providing testimony.

On March 19th, the board will allow public testimony at Arundel High starting at 6 p.m.

The full redistricting options can be found at

3. A second reading takes place in regards to making Arundel’s Global Citizenship class a county wide graduation requirement

During the reading, members from the AACPS legislative and policy counsel as well as members on the board discussed concerns they’ve received from the public regarding the decision to make the Global Citizen class a graduation requirement.

Dana Schallheim, a member of the board, was the first to speak up about her concerns regarding the course.  “I would first like to say that I believe in the spirit of this course but, I’ve been getting emails, and I myself have my own concerns about execution, the right teachers being chosen, ” Schallheim said.

She then went on to discuss individual concerns she received about a Global Citizenship and need for more cultural awareness is needed throughout the course’s curriculum.

Other members of the board discussed issues like the class being integrated as a requirement.

Members of the community weighed in on the course as well. Andrea Chamberlin, a parent who resides in the South River feeder system, discussed her opposition towards making the class a requirement. She believes that the funding needed to make the class a graduation requirement would be better spent on creating a financial literacy class instead.

Jacqueline Boone Allsup, President of the Anne Arundel County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), addressed the board with her on the course as well.

Boone Allsup mentioned the increasing amount of racially based incidents that have occurred across the county and thanked the board for their efforts on eliminating the issue.

“Tonight, on behalf of the Anne Arundel County branch of the NAACP, I want to publicly support the implementation of the Global Community Citizenship course across all 12 Anne Arundel County public high schools,” Boone Allsup said.

Boone Allsup added that the course has given the county the opportunity to help get a grasp on the racism within the schools.

“The successful implementation of this program at Arundel High School, testified by the participating students at the December 5th meeting of the board, has demonstrated the potential effectiveness of this program,” she said.

She also added that she recognizes the potential issues within the course but believes with the right teachers and dedication, this course can be successfully replicated at other schools.

The next board meeting is scheduled for February 6th at the Board of Education building in Annapolis.