The Howard County Board of Education on Feb. 24, unanimously adopted its Operating and Capital Budget Requests for the 2022-23 school year (fiscal 2023). The fiscal 2023 Board of Education Requested Operating Budget totals $1.1 billion, which is a $139.3 million, or 14.5 percent increase from the fiscal 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 percent from fiscal 2022. State revenues in the budget total $321.1 million, an increase of $38.6 million, or 13.7 percent, 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.
The fiscal 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 no. 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 fiscal 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
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 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
The Blueprint begins to go into effect this year and will be rolled out during 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 fiscal 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.
More information about the HCPSS budget is provided at www.hcpss.org/about-us/budgets/fy23.