The Howard County Board of Education has adopted its Operating and Capital Budget Requests for the 2021-2022 school year (fiscal 2022), and Capital Improvement Program for fiscal 2023-2027. The board also approved its Long-Range Master Plan for fiscal 2022-2031. The budget requests have been submitted to Howard County Executive Calvin Ball.
The fiscal 2022 Operating Budget Request totals $960.3 million, which is a $41.6 million (or 4.5 percent) increase from the fiscal 2021 Operating Budget. Included in the total request is $18.7 million in one-time costs to eliminate the remaining Health Fund deficit. Net the one-time costs, the Board’s Requested Budget seeks $941.6 million for ongoing operations (or a 2.5 percent) increase year over year.
The request for county funding totals $670.4 million, which is $50.1 million (or 8.1 percent) above fiscal 2021. Net the one-time funding request of $18.7 million for the Health Fund deficit, the county funding request total $651.7 million, a year over year increase of $31.4 million (or 5.1 percent).
Consistent with the governor’s budget proposal, the board’s request is based on state and county revenues being held harmless for the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) decline attributable to the temporary decrease in enrollment for the current school year. Absent a hold-harmless provision, state and county revenues would decrease year over year by $32.3 million.
The balance of revenues to fund the board’s budget request come from state, federal and other sources:
- State revenue: $282.5 million
- Federal and other revenue: $7.4 million
- The fiscal 2022 request includes funding to meet board obligations that include staff compensation, student transportation, and additions to staffing and other cost increases associated with enrollment growth. The request also includes funding to sustain the school system’s recent investments in technology and software, address critical shortages in special education, and to support student mental health services and dyslexia and reading instruction.
- Additional to the $18.7 million one-time funding request to eliminate the accumulated Health Fund deficit, the board’s request adds $9.1 million in other expenditures above those included in the superintendent’s fiscal 2022 Operating Budget Proposal, including:
- 75 positions and other expenses for a new Digital Education Center
- 22 positions, including alternate education teachers and mental health therapists
- 12 additional student services positions, including social workers, counselors and Pupil Personnel Workers (PPW)
- Staff training and other expenses to support expanded use of the DIBELS early literacy skills assessment
- 1 board in-house legal counsel position
The board also adopted the fiscal 2022 Capital Budget request totaling $108 million and the fiscal 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Program request totaling $363.6 million. The Capital Budget requests include funding for costs associated with construction of the Talbott Springs Elementary School Replacement, scheduled to open in fall 2022; construction of New High School #13, scheduled to open in fall 2023; and the Hammond High School Renovation and Addition, scheduled for completion in fall 2023. The budget request will ensure these three critical construction projects remain on schedule. Funding is also allocated for systemic renovations and ongoing projects including roofing, playground equipment, relocatable classrooms and technology.
Additionally, the board approved the fiscal 2022-2031 Long-Range Master Plan, totaling $934.2 million, which includes funding for the construction for the Talbott Springs Elementary School, New High School #13, and Hammond High School projects, as well as for planned renovations and additions at Dunloggin Middle School, Oakland Mills Middle School and Centennial High School, and planned new construction of New Elementary Schools #43 and #44 and New High School #14.
Ball will submit his proposed budget to the County Council in April, and the County Council will adopt the Howard County budget in May. The board is scheduled to approve the final fiscal 2022 Operating and Capital Budgets and the fiscal 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Program on May 27, 2021.
For more information on the Operating Budget, go to https://go.boarddocs.com/mabe/hcpssmd/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=BY3T4974BFEF