Superintendent Presents 2021–2022 Operating Budget Proposal
January 21st, 2021
HCPSS Superintendent Michael J. Martirano presented his proposed operating budget for the Howard County Public School System fiscal year 2021–2022 (FY 2022) during a presentation to the Board of Education on Thursday, January 21, 2021. The Board will now hold a series of public hearings and work sessions before submitting the Board’s Requested Budget to the County Executive by March 1, 2021.
The budget proposal requests the funding needed to maintain existing levels of services and supports for students, staff, and schools. The proposal accounts for enrollment growth, sustains the school system’s recent investments in technology and software, addresses critical shortages in special education, and enhances funding to support student mental health services and dyslexia and reading instruction.
The FY 2022 Proposed Budget totals $932.4 million, representing an expenditure increase of $13.8 million, or 1.5%. If advanced by the Board of Education, the request to the county of $642.4 million represents $22.1 million, or 3.6% over FY 2021. Also included are $282.7 million in anticipated funding from the state, consistent with the FY2021 allocation; and $667,100 in federal and other funding support, representing an expected decrease of $375,000 compared to FY2021. The final amount of funding allocated to the school system is subject to change, based on state actions on MOE requirements, state funding levels, and county funding availability.
The budget proposal includes funding to support projected FY 2022 enrollment of 58,522 K-12 students, which represents growth of 380 students over FY 2021 budgeted enrollment. It provides for 54.8 new general education positions to support enrollment growth, and 70.7 special education positions to support enrollment growth and maintain existing special education service levels.
The budget proposal moves the school system forward in its multi-year goal to increase funding to address critical shortages in special education. With this proposal, the funding allocated has increased by over $38 million over the last five years – an annual growth rate of 5.5% for special education, compared to average combined growth of 1.9% for other operating budget program areas.
The budget proposal includes modest investments in three key areas that are essential to equity and the quality of the instructional program. These include:
- $500,000 for the addition of 4.5 reading specialist positions and professional learning to increase early intervention on reading skills and address universal screening for reading difficulties and dyslexia, including Orton-Gillingham training.
- The addition of 7.0 positions to increase mental health supports for students. These will strengthen the complement of supports that HCPSS has been building over the last several years through previous additions of student services positions and increased collaboration and access to community agencies and providers.
- The addition of 5.0 technology positions and funding to sustain the school system’s recent investments in computers to support a 1:1 student-device ratio, including investments for instructional software and to strengthen cybersecurity and bandwidth.
Martirano also noted the impact of the pandemic on student achievement, and the additional supports that will be needed as students return to classrooms. HCPSS is preparing a robust program to support learning recovery and acceleration for all students, which will be presented to the Board over the coming weeks. The school system will pursue grant funding to support the learning acceleration plan.
The Board will hold public hearings on the Superintendent’s FY 2022 budget proposal at 7 p.m. on February 2 and 16, 2021. Work sessions will be held on January 28 and February 2, 4, 9 and 16, with an inclement weather date on February 18, 2021. All work sessions begin at 1 p.m. A complete budget schedule can be found online.
The Board is scheduled to adopt its budget request on February 25, 2021, at 3 p.m., and to approve the final FY 2022 Operating and Capital Budgets and FY 2023–2027 Capital Improvement Program on May 27, 2021.
The Superintendent’s complete budget proposal is posted online with additional budget documents and resources.