My Thought on Proposed HCPSS FY 2019 Operating Budget

I am sharing some of my thoughts on the superintendent Dr. Martirano’s proposed 2019 HCPSS operating budget.

  1. It is great that he proposed something reasonable than previous superintendent did. A 3.9% increase of funding request will be more likely funded by the county government and others. In the previous year, a nearly 10% increase of funding request was proposed and they knew it would not be approved. Then some people played political games. I wish in the future, they always come out with a reasonable funding request. It will be even better that they consult with the county government on the possible funding.
  2. I am glad to see that a four-year plan to address the Health Fund structural imbalance and deficit is proposed, especially Dr. Martirano will be the superintendent for the next four years. The deficit balance has accumulated over several years and is projected to reach a balance of $50.5 million by year end FY 2018. So HCPSS spent around 150 million dollars on the employee’s health care yearly (?). While I sat on the BOE Operating Budget Review Committee in 2017, I immediately realized how serious the deficit problem would be. I believe the HCPSS health care plan should be restructured. Incentives should be given to those staff who may use some high detuctble insurance plan, etc.
  3. I am glad that teachers’ salary increase is on the table. We should always treat our teachers with respect and pay them well.

Several considerations from myself:

  1. The HCPSS transportation issue was not discussed. I wish they continue to optimize the bus service such that they increase the safety of bus service (hiring more staff from last year ORBC recommendation), increase the efficiency of the bus service ( route planning/optimizing using high technology). This is also related to the “start high school later” movement which I believe in. A reasonable school start time for all schools between 8:00-9:30 is more acceptable. The number one concern is that doing so will increase the transportation cost dramatically so I wish optimization and technology will find a way to implement this change.

What is your thought?