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HCPSS Superintendent Presents 2022-2023 Operating Budget Proposal

January 20th, 2022

HCPSS Superintendent Michael J. Martirano presented his proposed operating budget for the Howard County Public School System fiscal year 2022-2023 (FY 2023) during a presentation to the Board of Education on Thursday, January 20, 2022. 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 the beginning of March 2022.

The Superintendent’s budget proposal requests the funding needed to sustain and strengthen educational, behavioral health and well-being supports in response to student needs that have increased due to the pandemic. The proposal also establishes the framework of funding necessary to implement the requirements of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which will be phased in over the next 10 years. The budget also includes the addition of staff and resources needed to open the county’s 13th high school in fall 2023.

The FY 2023 budget proposal totals $1.07 billion, representing an expenditure increase of $112.5 million, or 11.7%. If advanced by the Board of Education, the request to the county for funding of $748.3 million represents a $119.9 million increase in recurring funds, or a 19.1% increase over FY 2022. State funding totals $303.3 million, an increase of $20.9 million, or 7.4%.

Critical Investments to Meet Increased Student Needs

Martirano noted that the pandemic has permanently reshaped and redefined public education service levels, compounding the challenges for staff in meeting students’ needs. The budget proposal advances resources and new staff positions necessary to prepare HCPSS to meet students’ increased needs for academic and behavioral supports, special education and health services; to sustain the technological infrastructure built up over the last two years that has become integral to the classroom and HCPSS operations; and to maintain school buildings to sustain a healthy in-person learning environment. The proposal includes:

Blueprint for Maryland’s Future

The FY 2023 budget will set the framework for the funding needed to meet the requirements of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which begins to go into effect this year and will be rolled out over the next 10 years. The Blueprint brings much-needed reforms that aim to transform Maryland’s public schools to provide greater opportunities for students. Major initiatives include elevating the status of the teaching profession and rewarding professional service, preparing students to achieve college and career readiness, broadening resources so all students will be successful, and ensuring accountability for results.

The Superintendent’s FY 2023 budget proposal includes $34.3 million and 199 new staff positions to fulfill provisions of the Blueprint that must be implemented during FY 2023 and to position HCPSS to continue implementing Blueprint deadlines that phase in over multiple fiscal years. The proposal includes:

Martirano emphasized that Howard County can be a leader in demonstrating its commitment to implementing Blueprint initiatives. The anticipated increase in state funding associated with Blueprint legislation will support HCPSS’ progress toward many longstanding goals for student achievement and supporting student needs. The new Blueprint funding formulas do not take into account all the funding necessary to implement Blueprint requirements; thus, fulfilling the Blueprint mandates will require a substantial local funding commitment above the level required by Maintenance of Effort funding formulas.

HCPSS staff are currently developing the required Blueprint Implementation Plan that must be submitted to the Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB) by June 15, 2022. The implementation plan will be driven by the final adopted FY 2023 budget and any funding limitations will be articulated within the plan submitted to the AIB.

Other Funding Obligations

The FY 2023 budget proposal includes a total of $41.5 million for staff compensation to fulfill FY 2022 bargaining agreements, as well as to increase salaries in FY 2023 to support the system in remaining competitive as an employer in a very competitive market and provide for increased benefit costs. The proposal also includes $2.0 million and 14 staff positions to support the scheduled opening of High School #13 in fall 2023.

The Board will hold public hearings on the Superintendent’s FY 2023 budget proposal at 7 p.m. on Jan. 27, Feb. 7 and Feb. 17, 2022. Work sessions will be held on Feb 2, 3, 7, 9, 14, 17 and 22, all beginning at 1 p.m. A complete budget schedule can be found online.

Martirano stressed the iterative nature of the budget process, and that it will require continued collaboration between the school system, Board of Education, County Government and the Maryland General Assembly to accomplish the goals and objectives articulated through this budget.

The Board is scheduled to adopt its budget request on Feb. 24, 2022, at 3 p.m., and to approve the final FY 2023 Operating and Capital Budgets and FY 2024-2028 Capital Improvement Program on May 25, 2022.

The Superintendent’s budget proposal is available online.