Comments on BOE budget discussion

HCPSS is asking 7.2% funding increase from last year’s budget, plus one time funding (6 million) request to narrow down the historical health fund deficit from the county government.

HCPSS is at the receiving end of the budget. With limited money allocated into HCPSS and the high possibility that the county may not fund this 7.2% funding increase request, we have to juggle around different programs and different priorities. If HCPSS does not get this number or get a substantially lower percentage than the request, further proposed changes of HCPSS program will happen, painfully and unfortunately. 

The board has received many emails about “do not cut”. Parents do not  like class size increase. They want to have special education fully funded,  and have our GT programs and music programs enhanced. I also think we should hire more teachers, paraeducators, counselors, ,psychologists, nurses, health assistants, etc., to support our students and our teachers and staff. And we should have more liaisons to support our parents to connect with the school. There is a long list with many wants. 

However, it is extremely difficult to find a balance among so many priorities in the school. It may have negative consequences on some of students, teachers or staff. For example, increasing class size will bring more pressure to the classroom. Reshaping some programs may impact some staff. 

If any program changes have to happen, I will focus on the programs which are relatively easier to be restored if more funding becomes available. For example, class size change can be restored if the money comes. It happened last year. Surplassing teachers or cutting programs should be the last resort. I will continue to ask to streamline our central office and consolidate services to reduce cost. I want to put our resources in the classroom while maintaining a functional school system. 

However, the reality is very challenging. Because of many years’ underfunding for HCPSS, we are at a crossroad to keep a prestigious HCPSS education system. The whole county needs to  work together, and re-orient county priority and put more resources into the school system. 

Parents, please do your best to advocate on behalf of our kids’ education at the county government budget session and the county council budget session. 

Elected county officials, please examine the county budget and see where some county programs can be scaled back at this difficult time and have the fund repurposed to HCPSS. 

Thank you. 

County Executive 2021 budget Public Hearing

Time: Thursday, March 12, 2020

County Executive will submit Proposed Budget to County Council on April 20, 2020. This is a critical date for HCPSS FY 2021 operating budget.

County Council 2021 budget public hearing

Wednesday, April 22, 2020,

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Monday, May 11, 2020

The County Council will adapt their budget on Friday, May 22, 2020.

The Board of Education will adopt the budget on Thursday, May 28, 2020.

One community feedback on FY 2020-2021 budget

Now more parents understand that HCPSS will face another tough budget year of 2021. Even before the superintendent presents his budget to the board, the board begins to receive many feedback from the community.

With the permission from the original sender, here is one email talking about the 2021 budget. Some of the points are very thoughtful and useful. At such a difficult budget time, every penny is important to HCPSS.

The document talks about cost saving measures related to: testing, renovation, printing, textbooks, busing, building usage fee, staffing formula, technology usage, etc.

HCPSS FY 2021 budget ahead

This was posted on my facebook.  I think I should post it here too. The post was updated on September 10, 2020 based on staff info.

Many people asked me on school budget. Here are numbers(estimated). We will get better estimate during budget work session on 4:00-6:00PM September 10, 2019.

The school needs balance its’ budget such that we spend what we have.

For Fiscal Year 2021, starting from the beginning, we need extra 12 million for operating budget which is from this year deficit (we are funding some operating budget this year with one time funding), 10-11 million due to extra student growth(800 students*15000 per year=12 million), 25-28 million for teacher and staff salary increase (negotiated 4% as last year, not approved yet), 7-8 million dollar health care cost increase. 

Furthermore, health care fund still has that 37 millions deficit hanging there. This 37 million dollars maybe go up/down. We will get an update on this number by the end of September 2019.

So in total, we need extra 59 million for operating budget, one time 37 million to pay down health care deficit. So the total is around 96 million dollars at least.

Other obligations that we know will have a budget impact but do not have estimates at the this time:

  • Transportation contract costs(no-redistricting related)
  • Dual enrollment FARMS tuition increase
  • Non-public placement
  • Insurance/Risk management
  • Special Education


Thinking about during this year’s budget discussion, we were looking at saving 10,000 here and there. We are not sure how the economy will turn out in the next 12 months. We are also not sure how much the county and state would love to fund HCPSS.

We have a really tough, tough 2021 budget in front of us. I love to hear your ideas how to balance the budget.

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