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Board of Education Adopts FY2019 Operating and Capital Budget, and FY 2020-2024 Capital Improvement Program Requests

March 6th, 2018

The Howard County Board of Education last night adopted its Operating Budget Request for the 2018–2019 school year (FY 2019) totaling $906.8 million. The amount requested represents $87.7 million, or 10.7 percent, over the amount funded for the FY 2018 school year as well an additional $50.5 million request for one-time funds over the next several years. The recurring amount requested from the county is $583.2 million, which is at the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) level. An additional request for county funding includes $11.4 million in one-time costs needed for FY2019 as well as a $50.5 million request from the county to address the Health Fund deficit accrued during FY2017 and FY2018. The HCPSS will work with the County to develop a multiyear plan to eliminate this accrued debt of $50.5 million. The total request for state funding is $249.3 million, an increase of $10.7 million over FY2018. The remaining budget includes funding from Federal and Other Sources totaling $12.6 million.

Several reductions were made to the Superintendent’s Proposed budget to provide additional funding for employee health benefits, stabilizing the Health Fund by meeting the 85 percent required funding level from the school system. This full funding of health care costs will eliminate the structural imbalance while ensuring that the school system’s debt will not increase beyond the amount accrued in FY2017 and FY2018. Reductions made by the Board include $5.4 million to increase class size for grades 1–12 by 1, $2.8 million in additional position reductions, $2 million in funding for utilities, $1.1 million in operations costs, $1 million for various reductions in academics, $2.6 million for the elementary and sixth grade world language program, $700 thousand in funding for the technology plan, $250 thousand for a proposed middle school athletic pilot program, $200 thousand in Human Resources funding, $198 thousand in Athletics funding, and funding for a Board attorney and Budget Analyst/Internal Auditor. The Superintendent’s recommended budget had incorporated significant reductions in central office staff, particularly the elimination or repurposing of 29 central office positions in order to better support schools. The Board also noted that should additional funding become available through budget savings or increases in county and state revenues, this funding will be used to restore class sizes.

Funding was increased to restore the full allocation of lunch and recess monitors. The budget also includes a placeholder of $8.1 million for salary increases still in negotiations.

The Board also adopted an FY 2019 Capital Budget Request totaling $79.7 million, a 2020–2024 Capital Improvement Program Request totaling $517.4 million, and a 2019–2028 Long Range Master Plan of $983.5 thousand.

The Capital Budget request includes funding for costs associated with locating and constructing a new 13th county high school, targeted to open in fall 2023; an addition to increase school capacity at Waverly Elementary School, scheduled for completion in August 2018; and the final phase of construction of New Elementary School #42, scheduled to open in Elkridge in August 2018. Additional funding is allocated for systemic renovations, which include replacements and upgrade of rooftops and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems at several schools.

The Capital Budget and Capital Improvement Program Request provides for an accelerated start date for the Hammond High School addition project, and reflects $98.6 million in reductions for planned projects to accommodate projected county and state funding levels.

The Board will submit its budget requests to Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman on March 12, 2018.