On Friday, the Maryland Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the State-led audit of the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS). The Howard County Council unanimously voted to pass Howard County Executive Calvin Ball’s legislation calling for a state audit of HCPSS in July. Following the release of the RFP, a pre-proposal conference will be held on January 7, 2020. The closing date for proposals is January 24, 2020.
“Howard County has a well-deserved reputation for great schools and I want to ensure we are investing in creating the best environment for teaching and learning for all of our students and educators,” said Ball. “I proposed a performance audit of our school system, conducted independently by the Maryland State Department of Education, to provide a full picture of our expenditures and help inform the best financial path forward. Today, I am thankful to the State for their support as we worked through the process of developing an RFP.”
Ball added, “This year we were proud to provide significant funding to our schools, with direct appropriation of $607.2 million and total funding of $897.3 million when adding in state dollars. This is a 5.9% increase from last year, with education funding making up 63.9% of our operating budget. We also fully funded the teachers collective bargaining agreement, including salary increases for our valued educators and sufficient funding to maintain class size, and even fully fund employee healthcare costs. Every educator, student, parent, and resident in Howard County deserves to know exactly how and where our money is being spent. Together, can ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent sensibly, to best serve our students and educators.”
The release of the RFP follows the execution of an agreement between HCPSS and Howard County Government to exchange information supplementing the performance audit on December 6th. The audit process is an important opportunity to build even more accountability and transparency for our schools, find ways to support all our children and educators, and make our schools even better. The focus will be on four key areas, established through cooperation with HCPSS:
- Health and Dental Fund
- Budgeting and Actual Expenditure Variance
- Personnel Cost Development
The scope of this audit was confirmed with the engagement, collaboration and cooperation of the Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano and HCPSS. Moving forward, Ball, the Howard County Council, the Board of Education and HCPSS will continue to find the best path forward for all our students and the community.
All of this started before the HCPSS redistricting process really got going so many people might have missed past articles on this subject…here is a recap of how we got to this point: