Front page of the 2020 proposed budget document

I had heard about the Howard County Public School System Superintendent’s 2020 budget request yesterday and was in shock a bit…so I made sure to look it up last night and review it again this morning…here is the document if you would like to review it.

Some items that caught my attention are:

In the opening message from the Superintendent:

The budget proposal totals $998.4 million and represents an increase of $136.1 million, or 15.8 percent. The request to the county of $722.9 million represents an increase of $122.9 million over FY 2019. This increase includes $10.8 million based on the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) funding formula, $95.3 million to invest in our educators and students, $7.9 million for programs that support the community, and a one-time request of $27.0 million to eliminate the Health Fund deficit.

On page 20…this chart:

This is a BIG increase over 2019…like a really big increase.

For those that like history…here is the same chart from the 2019 proposed budget request:

One additional chart from this document…where the money for this budget request would come from:

I wonder if our new County Executive (Calvin Ball) found an extra $122 million under a seat cushion since he took office? LOL.

Now look….there is a LOT of information in the 539 page document…so there is no way to break it all out in this short blog post…so give it a look when you have some time.

Now this budget will go through the Howard County Board of Education…then the Howard County Council….then the Howard County Executive. So we have a long way to go before anything is decided and I can not wait to see how this plays out as it works it way through the process.

I understand how government budgeting works…you over ask knowing things will be cut…but this appears to be a BIG over ask. I have been critical in the past when the ask was $60 million in one year…so more than double that this year…I think I am still having a bit of sticker shock this morning with this new proposed budget….because I am not sure what to say about this request in this post. I will have more comments as this moves forward.

Stay tuned folks…as this proposed budget makes it way through the system…I will be sure to follow it. I am super interested what the new HoCoBOE does…will they add more to this proposal and push it over the 1 billion dollar ask amount?…or will they cut it a bit before sending it forward?

One last note…if the County Executive can not fully fund this proposal (or the final proposal from the HoCoBOE)…will the HCEA or others come out with statements about the new County Executive or County Council not fully funding our school system? That is another aspect of this I will be watching.

Scott E


  1. Well, now we have a reason for a tax increase….
    Salary increase really laughable. It does not appear our school system has any trouble hiring at current salary levels. I think a good data point to have when considering this request would be how many applications are received for each open teaching position, admin position, etc.

  2. Well, we now have the Kirwin plan delayed at the state level. I guess the Super was basing his budget on the new numbers put forth by the Kirwin Commission.

  3. There is a problem with teacher salaries in Howard County. Salaries have been stagnant for years. Our teachers for the most part do not live in the County, attrition rates are increasing and should be of concern. Our new teachers are often working extra jobs in the evening. Teacher pay needs to be improved.

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