As a follow up to my earlier article “Will the renovations and additions to Hammond HS and Talbott Springs ES be on the chopping block again?” I was sent the following letter from Howard County Executive Calvin Ball to the Howard County Board of Education on November 27th:

Dear Members of the Board of Education (BOE):

On October 30, the BOE sent a letter to my office and County Council Chairperson Rigby to “request an update of (County) consideration of the Capital Budget request that was submitted by the Board of Education on September 20, 2019.” Specifically, your letter inquired into the “intentions of the County Executive and County Council” related to the Talbott Springs Elementary School replacement, Hammond High School renovation and addition and continued development of High School #13.

First and foremost, I write to reiterate my continuing and full support for the Talbott Springs Elementary School, Hammond High School and High School #13 projects. To support these shared priority projects, the my Administration collaborated with the County Council to pass legislation increasing the school facilities surcharge fee. The newly passed legislation could potentially generate over $140 million in new revenues for school construction in the next ten years, based on preliminary projections.

Though my proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget is not due until April 1, 2020, current projections indicate that as much as $50-$54 million County funding will likely be available for the Howard County Public School System CIP for each of the next five years. As demonstrated in the table below, this amount is more than sufficient to provide the $28-36 million in County funding needed to keep all three priority projects on schedule for the foreseeable future. Please note that future funding amounts are in addition to significant prior appropriations that exceed $15 million for each of the three priority projects.

Additionally, the HCPSS CIP has averaged $19 million annually for other projects (systemic renovation, technology, roofing, etc.) outside of identified priority projects over the past ten years. After allocating needed amount to keep the three priority projects above on schedule, current projections indicate that the HCPSS CIP would still receive $18-21 million County funding per year for other projects for the next five years. This level of allocation would keep funding levels for other projects in line with historical levels while continuing support of the shared priority projects outlined above.

As the FY2021 budget process is in its earliest stages, please note that the above information is preliminary in nature. I look forward to continuing discussions and to a collaborative process as we work together to develop the FY2021 County and HCPSS CIP. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Calvin Ball
County Executive

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See the PDF of the letter here: CLICK HERE

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Interesting to see the different CIP projected numbers from the school system (between $41 million and $47 million) and the numbers from the County Executive (as much as $50-$54 million).

Hopefully these numbers are discussed by the HoCoBOE on December 5th and that the board makes Hammond HS and Talbott Springs ES a priority in the upcoming budget.

Stay tuned.

Scott E