From the letter sent and read by Howard County Executive Calvin Ball to the Howard County Council on April 20th…regarding the proposed 2021 operating budget as it relates to the Howard County Public Schools System:

Despite the current fiscal challenges, we are still able to provide our Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) with a total County allocation of $620.3 million, representing an increase of $13.1 million over last year’s budget (2.2 percent), and exceeding Maintenance of Effort (MOE) levels by $2.7 million. Comparatively speaking, during the last recession (FY 2010) the County provided only $2.8 million growth (0.6 percent) at MOE level.

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This amount is a significantly less than what the Howard County Board of Education requested for 2021 ($657.1 million or a nearly $50 million increase). We all knew that the HoCoBOE was not likely to get the nearly $50 million of new funding requested. I am actually impressed that HoCoGov came up with an increase over MOU this year.

If this is the final number approved by the Howard County Council…here is a look at the funding and increases over the last 12 budget cycles for HCPSS:

Year: Amount / Increase (notes)

  • Proposed 2021: $620.3 million / $13.1 million
  • 2020: $607.2 million / $7.1 million (would be $17.1 million increase if you add in the 1 time funding from the previous budget cycle
  • 2019: $600.1 million / $27.2 million ($10 million in 1 time funding)
  • 2018: $572.9 million / $10.6 million
  • 2017: $562.2 million / $18.1 million
  • 2016: $544.1 million / $13.7 million
  • 2015: $530.4 million / $33 million
  • 2014: $497.5 million / $15.1 million
  • 2013: $482.4 million / $14.8 million
  • 2012: $467.6 million / $2.9 million
  • 2011: $464.7 million / $7.1 million
  • 2010: $457.6 million / $2.8 million

See past operating budget documents here: https://www.hcpss.org/about-us/budgets/budget-archive/

It will be interesting to hear what the Howard County Council thinks of this proposal in their upcoming work sessions and meetings. The Council will vote on the budget on May 27th.

The amount is actually higher than I expected given all of the economic issues caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Do you have thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

I will have more on the proposed operating budget from Howard County Government in future posts. Stay tuned.

Scott E

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