If you watched the last couple of Howard County Board of Education (HoCoBOE) Work Sessions and the Budget Adoption meeting yesterday you saw the mess that is the HoCoBOE budget adoption process.
The HoCoBOE once again sent forward a budget that not only will not be approved (because it can’t be) fully but did so knowingly and willfully.
Here is the number that was sent to Howard County Government for HCPSS funding next year:
That number ($657,191,006) represents a 7.2% increase over the funding the school system got last year. Funding last year from the county was 607,200,000….so they are asking for a near $50 million dollar increase next year. WOW!!! Now it is less than the HCPSS Superintendents request (of around a $63 million increase) but still ridiculous.
If you add up the increases from the county in the HCPSS budget over the last 3 budget cycles…you get an amount of money of: $44,955,357. So asking for a 1 year $50 million dollar increase is reasonable and the right thing to do…NOT!!!
The board was on the right track back in earlier work sessions…”Opinion: Howard County Board of Education is making the right call reducing the operating budget ask from HCPSS Superintendent proposed FY2021 budget“…then somehow went off the rails (my opinion). I understand if you do not ask for something you will not get it…but this budget (and the request last year) is not that at all. This is asking for the moon and then telling the community the county is not fully funding us…and everything is their (the county) fault…so make them raise your taxes to fully fund us (again…my opinion).
The county has been up front with the council and board for some time now on their expectations of revenue this next year: Howard County Executive Calvin Ball Sends Letter To The Board Of Education In Advance Of Adoption of FY2021 Budget. So the board knows today what the county can and can not fund…so to send this budget forward is just wrong (I am going to continue to say this…my opinion).
The video of the session yesterday is now online: https://hcpsstv.new.swagit.com/videos/42023…so watch it for yourself or any of the previous work sessions (https://www.hcpss.org/board/meetings/) and then you can decide if our board is making the right decisions today for our community and school system.
It was interesting to see the budget request go off the rails for a little bit yesterday…then they added around $800,000 for parochial school bussing back into the budget and then it passed. That is so interesting to me…because a budget that has no chance of being fully approved dies for a minute until they added more money that they will eventually have to cut in order to go forward.
When they get SIGNIFICANTLY less money in April / May than what is in this proposed budget today (so much like last year) they will (board members) all be scrambling to figure out their budget at the last second again for FY 2021. Is that what we want our elected officials to do or should they make hard decisions now?
I am a fan of our board members…I just think they made a mistake (again) on the budget and the budget process.
Have thoughts…let me know in the comments.