Share a letter from our county executive, Mr. Allan Kittleman.
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) budget. I can certainly understand how some of the rhetoric and language being used regarding HCPSS’s allocation of budget funds has caused you, and other members of our community, concern.
To put things in perspective, my FY2017 Proposed Operating Budget provides an increase of $18.1 million from last year’s budget to HCPSS. This increase is also $7.2 million above the required Maintenance of Effort (MOE). The total FY2017 proposed school budget, including state and county funding, will increase by $32 million or 4.1% from last year. It is the second highest increase in the past eight years. As expressed by a percentage, under my proposed FY 2017 operating budget, the HCPSS will receive nearly 59% of the budget.
The entire county-wide FY2017 proposed budget shows a revenue growth of $37 million from last year. HCPSS’s requested county funding increase is $68.5 million, or $25.5 million more than the total additional funding available to the entire County. In other words, we have a $37 million increase in revenue from last year which is needed to fund public safety, recreation and parks, transportation, health and human services programs, other critical county programs AND the school system. As County Executive, I must propose a budget that represents the best interest of all Howard County residents by balancing different needs of our community while considering the tax burden of our tax payers. To fund HCPSS’s request would require me to raise property taxes an average of $531 per household or cut one-third of all County government services that our residents depend on. I am not willing to do that.
I also want to point out that my FY2017 Proposed Operating Budget for HCPSS fully funds the collective bargaining agreements (pay increases for teachers and other staff), 56 new positions for enrollment growth and special education. It also provides funding increases for every single category of the school budget including fixed charges or fringe benefits. I do not believe that any cuts are necessary to existing programs at HCPSS as the funding increase that I have provided this year is consistent with funding increases in previous years. The record increase requested by HCPSS is certainly inconsistent with previous requests, as indicated in the below chart.
Fiscal Year ( I computed the percentage: difference/previous year budget*100)
|BOE Request||Difference from Previous Year|
|2007||$396.3 M||$25.3 M|
|2008||$429.5 M||$33.2 M (8.4%)|
|2009||$458.8 M||$29.3 M (6.8%)|
|2010||$457.2 M||-$1.6 M (-0.35%)|
|2011||$464.7 M||$7.5 M (1.6%)|
|2012||$467.6 M||$2.9 M (0.6%)|
|2013||$485.9 M||$18.3 M (3.9%)|
|2014||$507.2 M||$21.3 M (4.4%)|
|2015||$530.4 M||$23.2 M (4.6%)|
|2016||$547.1 M||$16.7 M (3.1%)|
|2017||$612.6 M||$68.5 M (12.5%)|
The County Executive has the authority to specify where the budget dollars should go by category and this year, I proposed an operating budget with funding broken down by category. Once approved by the County Council, HCPSS would be required to seek approval of the County Council to move dollars from one category to another.
I strongly believe that the funding levels proposed for fixed charges and facilities are sufficient to meet the HCPSS needs. I am proud of the budget that I have developed and have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both Howard County teachers and residents who understand that I have done my part to ensure negotiated salary agreements, special education, and 56 new positions will be funded without raising taxes or cutting much needed Howard County services.
Thank you again for reaching out to me. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.