Enrollment numbers for Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) are kind of a big deal…as those numbers drive some funding for our school system. Here in Howard County we saw a big drop in enrollment in 2020 (Howard County Public School System enrollment drops by more than 1,500 students between 2019 and 2020) with a drop of 1,575 students between 2019 and 2020 (Annual reports).

The October 2020 report showed a further drop in enrollment of 49 students. This brings the total of 1,624 students lower than what was reported in September 2019 for HCPSS.

As a reminder: The school system projected an enrollment growth of 773 students in the FY2021 operating budget. This is a swing of 2,397 students not in our local school system (per the projection). The average High School in Howard County has between 1,250 and 1,850 students. We have lost more students (and the projection of new students) over the past year than in any high school in our county…again…this is a big deal.

COVID-19 is playing a big role in the falling enrollment numbers for HCPSS (one can easily assume that fact). Many parents have either opted to homeschool, send their kids to private school or made other decisions they think best for their kids based on the decisions made by our Board of Education.

As new Howard County Board of Education (HoCoBOE) members are sworn into office today (Howard County Board of Education members get sworn into office today) the big question by many in our community is what will this new board do to reverse the current trend of lower enrollment in our local school system? Can this new board restore faith that the local public school system is the best education choice for kids?

Like it or not…lower enrollment means less money for the school system. This will mean cut backs, potentially higher number of kids in each classroom (when the kids return to classrooms) and programs reduced or cut all together.

This new board must address this issue right away. The BIG question is….will they? Or will politics (as that is kind of a thing now with the Board of Education) get in the way of doing what is best for our kids?

I may have a future post on how politics plays a role in our local school system…with proposed legislation by state Senators and/or Delegates. I will be very interested to see how Board Members now address legislation proposed by those providing endorsements and funding for political campaigns for office. This will be something I watch closely now that this is a thing locally. Stay tuned.

Scott E

3 COMMENTS

  1. “Many parents have opted to […] send their kids to private school” … “lower enrollment means less money for the school system” … “drop of 1575 students”

    Glenelg Country’s enrollment is burgeoning, and I imagine those of other private schools are as well. HCPS sees the privates leeching their dollars…err, students. Ball holds a meeting with the headmaster of GCS and all other HoCo private schools at the beginning of the school year to bully them into not opening.

    And now it’s confirmed that the enrollment numbers took a hit. The county’s concern was real.

  2. The drop in numbers to me is a good thing– our schools are already overcrowded.. maybe we can get a little relief when the kids go back in person..

  3. It is amazing how quickly things have changed. Just last year, everyone was in an uproar over school crowding, redistricting and busing.

    Over the next 12 months, federal, state and county gov’t will realize their revenue stream has changed (short term and long term) and expenses increasing.

    Maryland and Howard County is slightly sheltered because of federal employment and spending. Over the next couple years gov’ts will have to make some hard decisions.

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