Board of Education Adopts Requested FY 2023 Operating and Capital Budgets, and FY 2024-28 Capital Improvement Program
February 25th, 2022
The Howard County Board of Education on February 24, 2022, unanimously adopted its Operating and Capital Budget Requests for the 2022-2023 school year (Fiscal Year 2023). The FY 2023 Board of Education Requested Operating Budget totals $1.1 billion, which is a $139.3 million, or 14.5% increase over the FY 2022 Operating Budget. The Board’s request reflects the school system’s funding needs to begin implementing Maryland’s Blueprint for the Future and continue providing students the support necessary to advance their educational excellence in the face of the challenges created by the pandemic.
The request for County funding totals $757.4 million, which is $116.6 million, or 18.2% over FY 2022. State revenues in the budget total $321.1 million, an increase of $38.6 million, or 13.7%, driven by required increases in per pupil funding enacted by the Blueprint. The balance of revenues to fund the Board’s budget request come from federal and other sources, and use of fund balance. Federal and other revenues total $6.9 million and use of fund balance is $11.6 million.
“It is so critical that the Board of Education articulate the needs of the school system and request funding to address critical shortage areas,” stated Vicky Cutroneo, Chair of the Board of Education. “The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated and shone a light on the many areas of our system where we are severely understaffed. We must prioritize these investments to ensure our students and families receive the wraparound services they need to be successful.”
“We hope to use this budget to guide the public dialogue about our shared priorities and how we support our students while implementing the reforms in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future legislation,” added Cutroneo. “The Board of Education also wants to ensure the community understands that this is a legally prescribed process where the amount of funding requested by the Board sets the maximum amount the budget can increase. Getting to the adopted budget in May is an iterative process to reach consensus and compromise. If we don’t advance the needs of our students now, there is no chance that they can be discussed and funded. We know that there are many competing priorities and acknowledge that the County will not be able to fund every new initiative and we will likely need to make adjustments at final adoption, however, it will be after we have had an opportunity to discuss these important initiatives with the community and our county leaders.”
The FY 2023 request includes funding to meet Board obligations that include staff compensation, increased salaries, additional positions to support the scheduled opening of New High School #13 in fall 2023, and to implement the Blueprint legislation. The request also includes funding to sustain and strengthen educational, behavioral health and well-being supports in response to student needs that have increased due to the pandemic.
The Board advanced the Superintendent’s Recommended FY 2023 budget with the following new additions:
- Implementation of a K-12 Digital Education Center
- Reduction of class sizes by 1 at every grade level
- Increased support for special education
- Elimination of sprinkling in elementary schools
- Advancement of the initiative to adjust school start times
- Increase synchronous learning opportunities for students
Critical Investments to Meet Increased Student Needs
The pandemic has permanently reshaped and redefined public education service levels, compounding the challenges for staff in meeting students’ needs. The budget request advances resources and new staff positions necessary to meet increased needs for academic and behavioral supports, special education and health services; to sustain the technological infrastructure built up over the last two years; and, to bolster a healthy in-person learning environment. Beyond the additional initiatives included by the Board, the budget request maintains:
- $6.4 million and 65 positions to shore up critical areas in health and well-being services and instructional support
- $7.0 million and 144 positions to further address critical shortages in special education staffing, to build on the system’s record growth advanced for special education over the last several budget years
- $26.8 million for technology, including 15 positions, student devices, classroom technology, specialized instructional technology, networking and security
- $4.6 million and 42 positions to sustain enhanced air filtration measures and increased maintenance and cleaning of schools
Blueprint for Maryland’s Future
The FY 2023 budget must set the framework for the funding needed to meet the requirements of the Blueprint, which begins to go into effect this year and will be rolled out over the next 10 years. Blueprint related funding requests include $34.3 million and 199 positions to fulfill provisions of the Blueprint that must be implemented during FY 2023. The proposal includes:
- $16.0 million to increase teacher compensation including compensation for teachers achieving the professional distinction of National Board Certification (NBC)
- $7.1 million and 143.2 positions to begin the expansion to full-day prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds
- $4.7 million and 40 positions to support college and career readiness efforts and expand dual enrollment participation
- $2.1 million and 15 positions to build organizational capacity to meet Blueprint governance, accountability, and reporting requirements
While the new Blueprint state funding formulas require state revenue increases, they 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.
Other Funding Obligations
The FY 2023 budget proposal includes a total of $24.0 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 New High School #13 in fall 2023.
The Board adopted a FY 2023 Capital Budget totaling $105.9 million, for costs associated with continued construction of New High School #13, targeted to open in fall 2023; and the phased renovation and addition of Hammond High School, scheduled for completion in fall 2023. The funding for Hammond High School in FY 2023 is to be inclusive of the first allocation of funding for HCPSS from the Built to Learn Act.
Additional funding in the Capital Budget is allocated for on-going and systemic renovations, which include replacements and upgrades of rooftops, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems at several schools, deferred maintenance, and other continued capital needs.
Along with the FY 2023 Capital Budget, the Board adopted the FY 2024-2028 Capital Improvement Program Request in the amount of $466.2 million, and the FY 2023-2032 Long-Range Master Plan totaling $1.1 billion.
The Board of Education’s budget will be submitted to the County Executive during the week of March 1, 2022, as required by law. The County Executive will hold public hearings followed by the submission of his proposed budget to the County Council. The County Council will then hold a series of public hearings and work sessions before final adoption of the county budget. Following Council action, the Board of Education will make any necessary adjustments to account for revenue impacts and adopt the final FY 2023 Operating and Capital Budgets.
Information about the HCPSS budget is provided online.