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Hails Importance of Stability, White's Dedication to BCPS

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz released the following statement in response to this evening's decision by the Baltimore County Board of Education to offer a four-year contract to Verletta White to serve as Superintendent of Schools. 

"I am delighted that the Board of Education recognized the importance of creating stability for students, teachers and administrators. Superintendent White has dedicated her life to the Baltimore County Schools, and I look forward to continuing to work with her."
 


Funds More than $8 Million Increase to Add School Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, and 19 Police School Resource Officers

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will propose 109.5 additional positions for school counselors, social workers, psychologists and Police School Resource Officers in his annual budget to be presented to the County Council on Thursday, April 12. Also included are additional health assistants and bus attendants. This investment is geared to addressing the ever growing mental health needs of County school students. The personnel additions further the significant $13.6 million of investments in school safety and security accelerated by Kamenetz after a 2012 County high school shooting.

“In Baltimore County, our budgets continually reflect a commitment to ensure that our schools are healthy learning environments,” said Kamenetz. “Since 2011, we invested $13.6 million to reinforce all school doors and windows, adding security cameras and controlled entry. With this budget, we add necessary personnel to ensure that we are reaching the mental health needs of every child to avoid incidents of disruption."

Increase in Student Services Personnel

The County Executive’s budget that he will present to the County Council next week includes an increase of more than $8 million to fund an additional 109.5 positions in the area of student support personnel and to expand Baltimore County’s Police School Resource Officer program.

Kamenetz is proposing two School Climate Support Teams to address students with complex needs and to assist schools with conflict management strategies — one for elementary schools and one for high schools. 

If adopted, the budget would add more than 22 social workers, 23 counselors, and 18 school psychologists to the Baltimore County Public Schools, while also funding additional pupil personnel workers, health assistants, and bus attendants.

“I am very appreciative that County Executive Kamenetz recognizes the important role that student service personnel play in creating a positive school climate, and that his budget proposal will fund these initiatives,” stated Interim School Superintendent Verletta White.  “The best way to prevent disciplinary and disruptive issues in our schools is to recognize and address the important role that mental health plays in student safety.”

“I believe in being proactive,” said Council Chair Julian Jones. “Doing everything that we can to ensure our school system has the resources it needs to help our children before they are in trouble is the appropriate thing to do.”

19 Additional Police School Resource Officers Added to Budget

The County Executive’s budget proposal will also include 19 additional Police School Resource Officers, increasing the County’s total from 65 officers to 84. With this proposal, one officer will be added to each of the County’s 10 police precincts and be assigned to work with the elementary schools in that area on school security issues. The additional 9 officers will be added to the current school allocation based upon review by Police Chief Sheridan and Superintendent White.

“School Resource Officers have proven to be a critical component in not only responding to incidents, but more importantly, to preventing incidents before they occur,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan. “If approved by the County Council, we will have these additional officers in place before the beginning of school in the fall.”

 Baltimore County Has Invested $13.6 Million in School Security Since 2011

Since 2011, the Kamenetz administration has invested $13.6 million to safeguard schools by installing security cameras and card reader door locks in all Baltimore County elementary schools and enhancing these security measures in middle and high schools. This funding initiative increased the number of school cameras by 400%, from 1,150 to 4,600; newly installing them in all elementary schools, and enhancing existing cameras and adding them as needed in middle and high schools. In the same timeframe, the number of card reader door locks in schools more than doubled from 261 to 583, providing an important measure of security for routine schooldays as well as in emergencies.

The County is now completing the installation of video dashboard technology that provides public safety officials with instant access to video feeds from security cameras at schools, libraries and other public facilities; as well giving them direct access to live traffic cameras on state highways. GPS systems are now installed in County school buses through a partnership between County government and Baltimore County Public Schools.

“The events of the past few months have moved us all.  No community, no school, and no family is immune from the fear that takes place after every school shooting incident,” concluded Kamenetz. “As government officials we have no more important responsibility than to make sure we do all that we can to protect our students and our teachers each and every day.”


County Executive Announces Baltimore County College Promise Program

In a transformative move that would help make college a reality for hundreds of recent high school graduates, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced this morning at CCBC Essex that his FY 19 budget proposal will include a request for a Baltimore County College Promise program. If approved by the County Council, this new need-based scholarship program, will begin with the Fall 2018 semester, and will cover tuition and mandatory fees at CCBC to enable eligible Baltimore County residents to complete an associate’s degree or workplace and certification program, up to a maximum of three years.

“This is a real game-changer for students from low or moderate income families for whom the benefits of a college education might otherwise be out of reach,” Kamenetz said. “It opens up a lifetime of career income opportunities.”

The Baltimore County College Promise program guarantees that CCBC college tuition will be free for eligible recent high school graduates who live in Baltimore County. It applies to students pursuing an associate’s degree or a licensure or certification program. The scholarship goes beyond federal, state and private scholarships to provide full tuition for qualified students to pursue and complete their education at CCBC. 

“The Baltimore County College Promise program is truly something to celebrate,” exclaimed CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis. “It will increase access to higher education for hard-working Baltimore County students who otherwise might struggle to meet the financial obligation of going to college.  Students who receive a Promise Scholarship must be college ready, doubling the value of this investment. We are fortunate to have a County Executive who believes in the importance of public higher education and not only ‘talks the talk,’ but ‘walks the walk.’ The Baltimore County College Promise program is an investment in the future of Baltimore County students and our local economy.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our recent graduates, especially those with financial constraints, to take full advantage of the tremendous education and career-advancing opportunities at CCBC,” said BCPS Interim Superintendent Verletta White.

College Promise has Widespread Support Among County Council Members

“I know firsthand how much the people in my district value CCBC Catonsville,” said 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk. “To give individuals who might not be able to afford to go to college the opportunity to do so is vital to our future as a county, and frankly, as a nation. This is about family stability and economic growth.”

“There is nothing more important to a person than a good job, and access to higher education is vital in opening up opportunities for individuals,” said 2nd District Councilwoman Vicki Almond. “This is a very good day for Baltimore County.”

“Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.  This announcement is about jobs pure and simple,” said Council Chair Julian E. Jones, Jr.  “Helping people get the education they need to succeed is exactly what government ought to do.”

“For people in my district, this announcement will be a true lifesaver,” said 6th District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins. “Free college tuition will open up doors that otherwise would be closed. I am so proud to be a part of this effort.”

“Both the Essex and Dundalk campuses of CCBC are important resources in my community,” said 7th District Councilman Todd Crandell.  “Making college more affordable to those who struggle to make ends meet is a very good thing.”

Qualifications and Requirements

To be eligible, students must live in Baltimore County and have an adjusted household income of $69,000 or less, which is the median income for Baltimore County residents. Students must have graduated from a public, parochial or home school within the past two years with a GPA of 2.5 or better and complete a federal financial aid (FAFSA form). Baltimore County College Promise students must enroll full-time and be college-ready. They must maintain full-time enrollment and a GPA of at least 2.5. The scholarship applies only to the student’s first credential or degree. More details on eligibility and program parameters can be found on the attached fact sheet

How to Apply

Students who wish to learn more about the Baltimore County College Promise may visit the College Promise page on CCBC’s website

Program Cost

The current cost for full-time CCBC students taking 12 credits per semester is $1,865 in tuition and fees. The Baltimore County College Promise scholarship is calculated as a “last dollar in” award, meaning that it is applied after all other financial awards like Pell grants and state aid (not including loans) have been utilized. For example, students with $1,000 in financial aid would receive $865 from this new program to fill the gap.

CCBC estimates that approximately 1,100 students, who graduated in the past two years, are eligible for the first year of the program, and the projected cost for the first year is $980,000. Costs for years two and three are estimated at $1.8 million and $2.3 million respectively.  Baltimore County government will provide the funding for the Baltimore County College Promise scholarship from its operating budget that will be presented to the County Council for approval this April.

Current CCBC Student Enrollment

Currently, 67 percent of CCBC’s student population are Baltimore County residents and 95 percent of its graduates remain in the Baltimore region, benefitting local economies and communities. Some 46 percent of CCBC students receive financial aid, and 53 percent work at least 20 hours per week.

The Value of Education for Graduates and Society

Studies show that the average CCBC associate’s degree graduate working to their full potential will see an increase in earnings of $10,400 each year. Over a lifetime, this translates to more than $300,000 in additional earnings.

In addition to higher earnings, the scholarship improves college graduation rates, which promotes a stronger economy by enhancing the skills and job-readiness of the County’s workforce. A better educated labor pool increases the attractiveness of the region to employers, fueling economic growth, prosperity and overall quality of life.

The County Executive will present his budget to the County Council on April 12.  The County Council will vote on the budget on May 24.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017