The Howard County Board of Education voted and moved forward the FY 2020 budget last night. The operating budget approved was a total amount of more than 972 million dollars…a pretty significant increase over last years final approved budget (nearly 862 million dollars). A significant fact to note was that the board reduced the ask from the superintendent by more than 25 million dollars.

I went back to look at past approved budgets…here is a chart for reference.

I went back to 2008 for the final approved budgets to see what the increases are year in and year out…as well as looked at the past two budget cycles for the Superintendent’s proposed budget and the HoCoBOE requested budget.

I also wanted to look at the county contribution part of these budgets…because that is the most significant piece of the local school budget:

I went back to 2014 for this data…and obviously the 2020 data is what is requested…not the final approved amount. If this amount is approved by the County it would be a historic one year increase.

The conversation around the county contribution was interesting…here is a clip from the meeting last night: (view the full meeting here)

The final vote was 5 – 2 in favor of the county contribution amount (HoCoBOE members Delmont-Small and Cutroneo voting no)…but even HoCoBOE member Sabina Taj noted “Understanding that this is an inflated budget that the county in no way can fund…but makes a statement of our needs…with that understanding…yes”.

Now we will see what happens with the county funding and what the total amount will be…it will be a little while before we know anything final. County Executive Ball is expected to present his overall budget by April 22. The council will adopt the final budget on May 29.

What are your thoughts on the school budget request for 2020?

Scott E

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