The following is from the FY 2022 Superintendent’s Proposed Operating Budget (Page 26):

The primary source of revenue for the Howard County Public School System is the appropriation from the Howard County Government. The county allocation of $642.4 million represents a Maintenance of Effort (MOE) level of funding of $602.6 million as provided for in State Law (based on a decrease of 1,634* students), $17.7 million in funding to hold the school system harmless for the aberrant decline in enrollment, plus a $22.1 million request to meet enrollment commitments and sustain existing service levels.

Maryland State Aid formulas distribute unrestricted funds based on enrollment, relative wealth of each county, level of local expenditures for education, and other factors. The FY 2022 state request maintains FY 2021 levels of funding, holding the school system harmless for the decline in enrollment. The $7.9 million in SB1030 Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, commonly referred to as the Kirwan funding, sunsets in FY 2021. Replacement funding from the state is pending legislative action. The FY 2022 budget assumes the state will enact funding to offset this loss. The $7.9 million funding is therefore included int the FY 2022 revenues.

Other revenue sources include building use fees, gate receipts for athletic events, fees for out-of-county students assigned to HCPSS, interest income, summer school tuition, and e-rate rebates. The decrease of $375,436 is primarily attributed to the decrease in estimated investment income and no expected FEMA reimbursements. Lastly, the budget assumes no use of fund balance for FY 2022 and the appropriation of $8.0 million in unrestricted fund balance as a revenue source, which was used to balance the FY 2021 budget, is eliminated in the FY 2022 budget.

In FY 2022, approximately 380 new students are projected to enroll in Howard County public schools are not part of the MOE calculation. This increased enrollment, along with other school system priorities, results in a total increase of $13.8 million or 1.5 percent over FY 2021.

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I am always a fan of looking at past budget increases…so here is what was provided to the school system in past years:

Year: Amount / Increase (notes)

  • 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 – so would be $17.1 million without the one 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

An increase of $22 million would be the highest single year increase since 2015 (if you take away the one time funding increase in 2019).

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


The mention of enrollment caught my eye so I decide to check out what was in the proposed FY22 operating budget request (See page 39)

In my article (Howard County Public School System continues to see falling enrollment numbers in December 2020) the number of enrolled students in December 2020 was noted as 57,134. This number represents a decrease of 1,734 students lower than what was reported in September 2019 and also 1,926 students less that what was reported in December 2019. To reach the projected number noted in the proposed budget HCPSS would need to add 2,959 students next year (based on the December enrollment numbers). Here is information from my enrollment tracking spreadsheet:

I would pay close attention to this issue as the budget is discussed. The “$17.7 million in funding to hold the school system harmless for the aberrant decline in enrollment” is not a guarantee and may be dependent on the budget outlook for the County in FY22.

I will be on the outlook for information from the County as it relates to this proposed budget from the HCPSS Superintendent. We have seen the County respond to the proposed budget in the past.


There are many scheduled Howard County Board of Education sessions to discuss the budget (learn more):

Scott E

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