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 drop in enrollment of 49 students from the September report. The November report showed another drop in enrollment of 55 students.

The December 2020 report shows a further drop in enrollment of 55 students. This brings the total of 1,734 students lower than what was reported in September 2019 for HCPSS. This is also 1,926 students less that what was reported in December 2019 (59,060).

Looking at this a little deeper between November and December 2020:

  • Elementary Schools Enrollment:  Nov: 25,252 | 25,223 Dec (-29)
  • Middle School Enrollment: Nov: 13,644 | 13,641 Dec (-3)
  • High School Enrollment: Nov: 18,177 | 18,154 Dec (-23)
  • Special School Enrollment: Nov: 116 | Dec 116 (+0)

As a reminder: The school system projected an enrollment growth of 773 students in the FY2021 operating budget.

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.

There may be some good news related to funding: Howard County Board of Education member Vicky Cutroneo posted the following yesterday:

  • “During question and answer portion of Governor’s press conference, Gov Hogan mentioned that school systems will be held harmless to 2020-21 enrollment declines.”

I have not had a chance to listen to the press conference yesterday but this could be good news (as far as funding goes) for the school system for next year.

The HCPSS budget is scheduled to be discussed on January 21st: HCPSS Superintendent recommends delaying the presentation of the proposed FY22 Operating Budget from January 7 to January 21

Scott E

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