Today at 4:00pm the Howard County Board of Education will meet to finalize the FY 2020 Howard County Public School System budget. Following the work session held on June 3rd, two Howard County Councilmembers have made comments about the school budget:

Deb Jung (District 4) posted the following on June 4th:

Over the last few days, I have received many new emails about school funding. I appreciate you sharing your concerns and I agree with many of them. Unfortunately there is nothing more that the Council can do regarding the funding of the school district. Our budget vote occurred on May 29. Councilmember Walsh and I sponsored several amendments — totaling $8 million — to close HCPSS’s budget shortfall but we were unsuccessful in persuading our other Council colleagues to support our amendments.

The Board of Education and the Superintendent met last night and made decisions about how to trim its budget in light of the funding it received from the County and State. You can find more information about their budget decisions from the recorded meeting at:
https://hcpsstv.new.swagit.com/videos/28807 The final budget will be adopted on Thursday.

David Yungmann (District 5) posted the following on June 5th:

ANOTHER SCHOOL BUDGET UPDATE POST
I know there are many concerns about the program and staffing reductions that were made by the Board of Education earlier this week. Everyone recognizes that these changes will be painful for many stakeholders in our school system. I am confident that each of our BOE members cares deeply about our students, has a profound respect for staff and hates every one of these cuts. One challenge they are facing though is, of the $36 million increase in funds for next year, $32 million is needed to pay for wage increases averaging 4% that have been negotiated with the unions. That leaves around $4 million available to absorb new students, maintain aging buildings, fund rapidly increasing free meal and special education costs and to cover normal inflation. The county’s projected revenue growth, which is negatively impacted by factors such as a shift in housing types/cost, major changes to APFO and a likely slowdown in the economy next year, limit the County’s funding ability without taking from other important functions of government. Everyone in county government and the school system is doing their best to balance hundreds of priorities and make the best decisions. The County’s budget was adopted last week so the funding amount is final, leaving the BOE with the hard decisions left to be made.

It will be interesting to see what changes are made (if any) to the school budget from the worksession on the 3rd.

Stay tuned.

Scott E

1 COMMENT

  1. Any budget need a balance. If certain areas are growing too fast at the cost of overall benefit for the majority, we need to address it , and keep it at curb. If rapid growth of special education and free lunch are not sustainable, we need to reconsider building more subsidized housing and densely populated apartment building, rethink how our special education is carried out, from diagnosis criteria to maybe change to a more centralized special ed system. We can not kick the can down the road and dilute the education quality for all students.

    If the school system is going down, families will start to leave the county which further reduce the tax revenue. It is a really slippery road, and things could go down very quickly. If the County executive is a true educator as he claimed when running for the position, he should cherish the great reputation of Howard county public school system. We hope to see the schools keep improving at the end of his term instead of getting worse.

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