2018 Primary election results

Chao Wu

Chao Wu
  • Non-Partisan
  • Age: 40
  • Residence: Clarksville

About Chao Wu

Education

I received my PhD from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of University of Maryland, College Park, my master degree from National University of Singapore and bachelor degree from University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China.

Background

I am a senior engineer, worked in the FDA, satellite industry and consumer electronics industry. I have been working in the areas of signal progressing, computer programming, data analysis, machine learning algorithm design and AI research. I have been twice elected as a board member of Columbia Association and River Hill Village Association since 2015.

Questionnaire

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1
School safety
With rising concern over school safety, should county police officers or sheriff's deputies be assigned to all public schools, along with additional screening methods, such as metal detectors, student pat-downs and clear backpacks?
Wu: I strongly believe the safety of our children and school staff is our top priority. By taking such proactive measures, we can effectively improve the safety of them. We also need make sure our police force should have enough special dedicated training because they are working with schools and students with very diverse background. They should have culture competency and diversity awareness training. I be
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2
Crowding
Is the county school system's program to reduce crowded schools through redistricting an effective method given projected shifts in population growth, housing development plans?
Wu: I don’t want to massive school redistricting for our students. I believe we should build more schools at the right location where we see student population grows. Redistricting is only a temporary solution to solve this over-development issue in the county. Working with the county to improve APFO is another important aspect in this dialogue. Overcrowding is also a safety concern we should always keep in mind and try to address and portable classroom number should go down gradually.
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3
Budget
Superintendent Michael Martirano has shifted budget priorities and is proposing to eliminate a world language program that's in place at eight (of 41) Howard County elementary schools and his budget might require increasing class sizes, by one student, in several middle and high schools. He would like to increase the number of social workers — at a pace of three per year — to help students struggling with mental health issues. Are these prudent choices?
Wu: This is a difficult choice for superintendent Martirano and the current board. The problem was caused by previous board. We should first make sure this same mistakes made by previous boards and previous superintendent will not repeat. The BOE should look both inside and outside. Inside the school system, we should make any school programs accountable to reduce waste, improve efficiency and reduce cost. Outside the school system, we should advocate for more funding from county government, state government and other possible funding resources. We should also communicate these difficulties to the parents. We may need to cut programs and service which will negatively impact some students. With their help and understanding, it is easier for the school system to move forward. The board should have a clear vision and direction how we can get out of the mounting deficit in an orderly manner. If BOE has to cut programs, I will make sure the school funds all programs which are legally required by the law. Anything outside the scope should be reevaluated based on the purpose, past performance, cost efficiency, return of investment and many more factors. When cut needs to happen, all status-quo or establishment forces will come out against the cut. As a board member, I will make sure objective opinions prevail.
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4
Health care costs
The system's health fund has been in the red for several years — the deficit projected at $50 million by this summer — and Mr. Martirano has requested one-time funds from the county to start to pay down the deficit. But higher health insurance rates are also in the cards; this is one apparent sticking point in the ongoing union contract talks. How do you believe this problem should be addressed?
Wu: I believe the county government should find ways to fund this one-time fund to pay down the deficit. The county government, county council, teacher union and HCPSS should work together to address this serious fiscal problem and have a clear plan to solve this deficit problem as soon as possible. It will not go away automatically and it means we should expect compromises from all stakeholders, although it was created by the current stakeholders unfortunately.
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5
Achievement gap
How would you evaluate HCPS' efforts to reduce achievement gaps between students of different races and backgrounds? Does more need to be done?
Wu: We definitely need do more to help our students to succeed. We should focus on each individual student, understand the struggle, create a success plan for each of them, and work with their teachers, families and communities. We should promote more vocational and technological training in HCPSS as an alternative career path. This will give our students and families more choices and freedom to plan for their future. It will not be an easy job. It may take very long time and dedicated effort to make sure all of students, regarding races and social-economical background will succeed.
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6
Foose
Did the school board act appropriately in agreeing to pay former superintendent Renee Foose more than $1.6 million in salary and benefits to persuade her to resign?
Wu: This is an unfortunate choice for the board. However, this is better than the situation that the former superintendent Renee Foose was sticking around and fighting ugly with the school board.
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7
Martirano
How would you grade Mr. Martirano's performance and his reorganization of the central office?
Wu: I grade Dr. Martirano’s performance “A”. He communicates with the community well and seeks common ground while making important decisions.
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