Council Committees Meet on April 28: Agenda Preview
The Montgomery County Council’s Public Safety Committee and its Education Committee will meet jointly at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 28, for a worksession on the School Resource Officers (SRO) program that places officers in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). The committee also will receive an update on the program that places cameras on school buses.
The Public Safety Committee, which is chaired by Phil Andrews and includes Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Marc Elrich, and the Education Committee, which is chaired by Councilmember Craig Rice and includes Councilmembers Andrews and Cherri Branson, will meet in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcast also will be streamed through the County website at: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/ondemand/index.html
The worksessions being held by the joint committee are part of the Council’s review of County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recommended Fiscal Year 2015 operating budget. After Council committees review various aspects of the recommended budget, committee recommendations will go to the full Council for consideration. The Council is scheduled to reach a tentative agreement on the budget on May 15 and is scheduled to formally adopt the budget on May 22. The budget will go into effect on July 1.
The SRO program (originally called the Educational Facilities Officers program) was established in the 2003-04 school year with 32 new police officers positioned in selected middle and high schools. In FY10, there were 27 officers in the program (one at each of the 25 County public high schools and one each at Argyle and Martin Luther King middle schools). In FY11 and FY12, the program was cut back significantly due to County budget constraints. In FY11, the County Executive’s recommended operating budget eliminated 16 SROs and proposed that MCPS pay for the remaining 17. This proposal was eliminated during budget deliberations between the Council, MCPS and the Executive, in effect eliminating the entire program. The Council ultimately funded nine positions to maintain the program.
Still facing critical revenue reductions, the Executive’s recommended mid-year FY11 Savings Plan abolished the SRO program. The Public Safety Committee recommended retaining the positions, and the Council approved the continuation of the program. The Executive’s recommended FY12 operating budget also would have abolished the program. The Council ultimately funded six SROs for FY12.
Since then, the SRO program has been expanded each year. Beginning in FY13, the Police Department began assigning additional patrol officers to function as SROs. The assignment of additional patrol officers to the program expanded the total complement to 13 police officers who were performing SRO duties during the 2012-13 school year: six County SROs, one City of Rockville SRO, one City of Gaithersburg SRO and the five County patrol officers.
The Executive’s recommended FY14 operating budget included an additional six SRO positions. The Council approved six new positions for FY14, and required that participating agencies develop and execute a signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlines a clear delineation of duties between school security and SROs, as well as training and communication requirements.
The Executive’s recommended FY15 budget funds two additional SRO positions The Public Safety Committee on April 10 recommended that the Council consider added eight additional SROs.
The joint committee also will receive an update from the Police Department on the school bus camera program that was implemented in January 2014. The cameras are positioned to record vehicles that illegally pass stopped school buses. Twenty-five buses currently have cameras and 75 additional buses will be wired. The additional wiring will allow police to move cameras to buses on routes where violations are constantly being noted. During the first three months of operation, 272 citations have been issued, of which 128 have been paid.
At 9:45 a.m., the Education Committee will meet to receive an update on long-term construction funding for Montgomery County Public Schools.
At 1:30 p.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room, the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee, which is chaired by Nancy Floreen and includes Councilmember Elrich and George Leventhal, and the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee, which is chaired by Nancy Navarro includes Councilmembers Branson and Hans Riemer, will meet jointly for an update on the redevelopment of downtown Wheaton.
At 2:30 p.m., the PHED Committee will receive an update on the redevelopment of the White Flint area.