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Board of Education Adopts Requested FY20 Operating and Capital Budget, and FY21-25 Capital Improvement Program

February 20th, 2019

The Howard County Board of Education on February 19, 2019, adopted its Operating Budget Request for the 2019–2020 school year (FY 2020) totaling $972.7 million. The request represents a $25.7 million reduction to the Superintendent’s budget proposal.

“The Board’s budget request provides funding to address our most critical needs and begin a multi-year process to get us to the funding level we need to be a premier school system, while it acknowledges the fiscal realities that we face in our county and state,” said Board Chair Mavis Ellis. “It follows the substantial work undertaken by the Board and Superintendent over the last two years to stabilize our system after an earlier period of chaos – work that included a significant central office reduction and reorganization, and many difficult decisions to reduce or eliminate programs, streamline operations and find cost savings in order to direct funding to our most strategic priorities.”

The budget request includes funding to meet Board obligations that include negotiated agreements, increases in employee benefit costs, and additions to staffing and other cost increases associated with enrollment growth. The request also addresses several priorities that the Board considers critical, including better support for minority and international students and families through the addition of new liaison positions, and a new position to enhance school-level outreach, improve interpretation and translation support, and help schools improve parent engagement among diverse communities.

The request also provides one-time funding to move forward Board priorities for school attendance areas and start times. Funding includes $710,000 for a redistricting consultant to support community engagement, provide impartial data analysis, scenario development, and support the Attendance Area Committee and public feedback processes. Additional funding of $400,000 is allocated to upgrade transportation software and begin the process to consider later school start times.

The budget also provides sufficient funding to begin a long-range process to address the high priority needs identified in the Superintendent’s budget proposal, including new staff positions to accelerate the implementation of restorative practices and ensure equitable learning opportunities throughout the school system, and additional positions and resources to better support students receiving special education services and those facing poverty, mental health issues and other significant challenges.

Allocations for essential, yet long-deferred maintenance projects, and to address a critical shortage of staff to support student transportation, are also included.

“I am pleased that the Board’s budget request reflects all of the key priorities widely shared by students, staff and community members, through our advisory groups, Board testimony, countless informal conversations and other forums,” said Superintendent Michael J. Martirano. “We are committed to ensuring that all decisions affecting our schools and students are informed by as wide and diverse a cross-section of our stakeholders as possible, and their input throughout the year has fully informed our budget planning.”

The Board also adopted an FY 2020 Capital Budget Request totaling $92.3 million, a 2021–2025 Capital Improvement Program Request totaling $626.9 million, and a 2020–2029 Long Range Master Plan totaling $1,131.6 million.

The Capital Budget request includes funding for costs associated with construction of a replacement Talbott Springs Elementary School, scheduled to open in fall 2022; construction of a new 13th county high school, targeted to open in fall 2023; and a renovation and addition to Hammond High School, scheduled for completion in fall 2023. 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.

Details of the Operating and Capital budget requests can be found online.

The Board will submit its budget requests to Howard County Executive Calvin Ball in early March.

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