Howard County Board of Education Adopts FY22 Operating and Capital Budgets

May 27, 2021

Board of Education Adopts FY22 Operating and Capital Budgets

Ellicott City, Maryland — The Howard County Board of Education adopted its Operating and Capital Budgets for the 2021-2022 school year (FY 2022) on Thursday, May 27, 2021. The operating budget totals $942.6 million, an increase of $23.9 million over FY 2021. The FY 2022 capital budget totals $90.4 million, providing continuity of funding for priority capital projects.

The FY 2022 operating budget maintains the school system’s focus on supporting students and the staff who are entrusted with their education and care, by maintaining existing program and service levels without reducing class sizes or staff positions. It includes funding to advance the Board’s key priorities, including addressing critical shortages in special education staffing, enhancing the staffing and focus on student mental health and well-being, and increasing staff compensation.

“I am pleased that despite the need to make difficult decisions, we are able to increase our continuous support for special education, focus on students’ mental health and well-being, maintain class sizes, and advance other essential goals for the support of our students and excellent staff,” said Board Chair Dr. Chao Wu. “I appreciate the support and collaboration among our County Executive, County Council, Board members, Superintendent, staff and community members, which have resulted in a budget that is fiscally responsible while addressing the Board’s most critical priorities.”

“This budget moves our system forward in enhancing services and supports to give each student the best possible education in a nurturing learning environment, and to support the staff whom we entrust with their learning and care,” said HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano. “This budget represents a substantial increase in positions to support student well-being – which has been one of my top priorities – and adds five social workers, three pupil personnel workers, thirteen counselors and one psychologist. I greatly appreciate the ongoing collaboration among our county leaders, Board, staff and community, whose dedicated efforts have been instrumental in ensuring financial support for our students and schools within a very tight fiscal environment.”

The $942.6 million operating budget includes $640.8 million in county funding, representing approximately $10.5 million above Maintenance of Effort, the minimum level of funding required by state law; $282.5 million from the state; and $7.4 million from federal and other sources. The budget also includes the use of $12 million of unassigned fund balance in order to fulfill obligations and advance key goals without requiring deeper impact to the classroom.

The approved FY 2022 operating budget maintains the school system’s commitment to sound fiscal management and cost containment while fulfilling several of HCPSS’ highest priorities:

  • Addresses critical shortages in special education with the addition of 70.7 staff positions
  • Accommodates enrollment changes while maintaining current class sizes with the addition of 27 pooled positions
  • Enhances student well-being and mental health services through the addition of 22 student services positions, including five social workers, three pupil personnel workers, thirteen school counselors, and one school psychologist
  • Enhances support for early reading instruction and to address dyslexia and other reading challenges, with the addition of 4.5 reading specialist positions and DIBELS training for staff
  • Funds compensation increases for all staff
  • Sustains the recent investments in technology with the addition of 5.0 positions
  • Reduces the remaining Health Fund deficit by applying a $10 million, one-time county funding allocation
  • Fully funds actuarial projected employee health insurance costs for the fourth consecutive year

As a result of the ongoing budget pressures in the county and state, the needs of the school system continue to outpace funding allocations, and the Board had to make difficult decisions to balance the FY 2022 budget. Significant savings were realized by eliminating proposed new staff positions associated with enrollment growth anticipated in the 2021-2022 school year, while increasing the number of pooled positions to allow flexibility in staffing assignments throughout the year. Notably, the adopted budget avoids any reductions in services or programs, or increases in class size.  

Additional savings were achieved through the use of grant funding to cover as many costs as possible for technology infrastructure and student services. HCPSS will continue to aggressively seek federal and state grant funding to accelerate learning recovery and help relieve costs resulting from the pandemic and its impact on students and schools.

The Board adopted a FY 2022 Capital Budget totaling $90.4 million, for costs associated with continued construction of a replacement Talbott Springs Elementary School, scheduled to open in fall 2022; continued construction of a new 13th county high school, targeted to open in fall 2023; and a renovation and addition to Hammond High School, scheduled for completion in fall 2023. Additional funding is allocated for on-going and systemic renovations, which include replacements and upgrade of rooftops, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems at several schools, and other continued capital needs.

Details of the budget decisions are available online.

HCPSS Response to Recent Violence and Incidents of Anti-Asian Hatred

HCPSS Response to Recent Violence and Incidents of Anti-Asian Hatred

March 18th, 2021

The following statement was issued by the Howard County Board of Education and HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano on March 18, 2021:

We are deeply saddened by the tragic shooting in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 16. Eight people were killed, including six Asian Americans. This tragedy is particularly painful to members of our Asian community in Howard County, and many Asian students are understandably fearful. One month ago on the Lunar New Year holiday, six local restaurants, including four owned by Asians, were burglarized and vandalized. Two weeks ago, a hateful and racist speech against Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and immigrants was delivered during the Howard County Racial Equity Task Force Public Hearing held on March 4th. 

Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents. We are witnessing in horror the recent increase in incidents of violence, attacks, hatred and discrimination against Asian Americans. Recent reports indicate there have been thousands of incidents targeting Asian Americans across the nation. The Howard County Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano unequivocally condemn all anti-Asian violence, crimes and incidents. 

HCPSS is committed to providing a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone in our community. We are enormously proud of our diverse and inspiring Asian American students and families. We are also very appreciative of the Asian American community’s contributions to HCPSS and Howard County. We reaffirm that Asian students are an integral part of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Howard County and our nation. HCPSS staff are committed to offering full support at this time of great stress for our Asian American students and families.

First and foremost, it is critical that we tend to the well-being of our students who require support. HCPSS will not tolerate bullying in any form; we ask that any child who feels victimized to reach out to a trusted adult. Students, staff and family members can easily and confidentially report incidents of bullying on the HCPSS Stop Bullying website. Counselors and staff in all of our schools are prepared to support any students who need someone to talk to. Additional resources are provided below that may be helpful for parents and educators as you discuss these recent events with your children. 

We encourage everyone to stand in solidarity with our Asian American community. We urge the leaders of our country, as well as our county, to work harder to stop the hatred and take concrete actions to protect vulnerable minorities, including Asian Americans. As Martin Luther King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” An inclusive, just, and compassionate Howard County starts with treating all citizens and community members with kindness, respect and trust.

Resources
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides the following information for parents and educators to talk with children about violence:

Additional reminders from NASP include:

  • Reassure children that they are safe
  • Make time to talk
  • Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate
  • Review safety procedures
  • Observe children’s emotional state
  • Limit television (and social media) viewing of these events
  • Maintain a normal routine

HCPSS Resources
The Mental Health and Wellness webpage provides guidelines, tips and sources of help.

HCPSS Board of Education Transition to Hybrid Meetings

HCPSS Board of Education Transition to Hybrid Meetings

March 5th, 2021

The Howard County Board of Education will transition to a hybrid board meeting format beginning with the March 11, 2021 meeting, with some Board members and staff participating in person while others continue participating remotely.

As the Board transitions to a hybrid meeting model, it is the Board’s desire to provide the public an opportunity to attend Board meetings in person, while keeping the option to participate and view virtually as the public has done since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board will continue evaluating state guidelines and Board processes and protocols and will make adjustments as necessary to accommodate additional public participation.

During the Public Forum portion of the meeting, members of the public may continue to participate and speak virtually. However, should any speakers wish to attend and speak in person, they will be able to do so beginning with the March 11, 2021 Board meeting. Additionally, the public may register to attend the March 11 Board meeting in person. In order to adhere to safety protocols, there will be limited space for people to attend and observe, with capacity set for 16 public attendees.

Upon arrival, guests will check in at the front desk of the Department of Education building and follow signage into the Boardroom, while adhering to the guidelines and requirements for wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Those speaking at Public Forum will have assigned seats and will be directed to the podium when Public Forum begins. If there is more than one in-person speaker, the podium will be sanitized between speakers.

The deadline to sign up to participate in the March 11 Public Forums or to view the meeting in person is Tuesday, March 9. Please contact Kathy Hanks via email at Kathleen_hanks@hcpss.org to register. Speakers must select their preference to attend in person or virtually at the time of sign up.

https://news.hcpss.org/news-posts/2021/03/hcpss-board-of-education-transition-to-hybrid-meetings/

Nomination for 2021 Friends of Education Award Begins

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2021 Friends of Education Award. The award was established by the Howard County Board of Education to recognize and show appreciation to those individuals, businesses, non-profit groups, organizations, or associations who have made exemplary contributions to Howard County public education and to increase awareness of the importance of community involvement to the achievement of the school system’s Strategic Call to Action (SCTA) plan.

Any Howard County resident or non-profit group, organization, association, or business located in or serving Howard County who has not been a recipient may be nominated for the award.

The 2021 nomination deadline is February 8, 2021. Nominees and recipients will be notified by March 15, 2021, and awards will be presented during the April 15, 2021, Board of Education meeting.

Nomination applications are available online or by contacting the Board of Education at 410-313-1584. For more information, visit the Friends of Education website at http://www.hcpss.org/board/friends-of-education/

2021-2022 Student Board Member Application starts now

It is now time to receive applications for the next Student Member of the Howard County Board of Education.  Any current sophomore or junior in Howard County may apply for this position. The student must be regularly enrolled in an HCPSS high school, academically eligible, and a junior or senior in the 2020-2021 school year. The student elected by the students of Howard County will serve a one‑year term on the Howard County Board of Education, July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

Please download the file above which contains necessary links.

2020 Howard County BOE Election Result

This is not the final result. However, the votes counted right now tell us following candidates are winners:

  • District 1: Christina Delmont-Small
  • District 2: Antonia Barkley Watts
  • District 3: Jolene Mosley
  • District 4: Jen Mallo. Sezin Palmer is 4.3%, 1086 votes (out of 25122 total) less than Jen Mallo right now.
  • District 5: Yun Lu

District 1, 2, 3 and 5 are pretty determined now. This is the first time when we have BOE election by district. They will server 4 years.

AAC community input sessions start tonight 2019-7-10

Reminder: Attendance Area Community Input Sessions begin this evening:

Wednesday, July 10, 7–9 p.m. at Oakland Mills High School

Families currently zoned for Centennial HS, Howard HS, Mt. Hebron HS, Oakland Mills HS

Saturday, July 13, 9–11 a.m. at Long Reach High School

Available to any family that is unable to attend their regional meeting.

Tuesday, July 16, 7–9 p.m. at Atholton High School

Families currently zoned for Atholton HS, Hammond HS, Long Reach HS, Wilde Lake HS

Thursday, July 18, 7–9 p.m. at River Hill High School

Families currently zoned for Glenelg HS, Marriotts Ridge HS, Reservoir HS, River Hill HS

While it is not required, community encouraged to RSVP

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeYQv-p8CQ0pjb6P1sF6MH-Ne9e1IF4wCwihEvkQP2CUNjC7g/viewform

2019 BOE OBRC Final Report

The BOE Operating Budget Review Committee (OBRC) presented a year-end final report. They identified four critical areas:

  1. Create a multi‐year Operating Budget that is integrated with a Strategic Plan
  2. Key Performance Indicators for programs
  3. Next Level with Equity, Inclusion and Diversity: Social Determinants of Health
  4. Revenue

I truly appreciate the committee’s year long commitment to provide the school board an independent angle to look at our operating budget.

Here is the document.

06 27 2019 OBRC Final Report BR

MD Educational Equity Policy

DISCLAIMER
Attached is the MABE sample policy on Educational Equity. As all MABE member school boards format and configure their policies in different ways, this sample policy is offered as an aid to MABE members for the creation or revision of that member’s State Board required policy on Educational Equity. This sample policy aligns with the requirements of the new COMAR 13A.01.06.01-05 – Educational Equity.
This sample policy is not required to be adopted in the current format, as it needs to be formatted and configured in light of your school system’s policy requirements and the specific educational equity concerns of each local board. Additionally, there are portions of the sample contained in [brackets] that may or may not be included in your school system policy at the discretion of your board.
MABE’s strategic plan for 2019-2024 calls for the Association to assist member boards in developing a shared understanding and vision of educational equity; by helping them to formulate and implement an equity policy that provides educational equity for each student by creating and maintaining equitable, inclusive, and diverse environments. The MABE Board of Directors and Ad Hoc Equity Committee appreciate your consideration of this important topic.
MABE does not offer legal advice, only information, and urges each member board to seek the advice of your legal counsel.

HCPSS redistricting process started again

Tonight, HoCo BOE directed the superintendent to restart the redistricting process again for the year 2020. I want to make sure we are doing it right this time.

I specifically asked the following to be investigated:

1) if redistricted, HCPSS will probably open all schools for development. Considering our continous debate on APFO, I want to know how this affect school open/close chart and how many more students will be generated. Right now, our school construction(capital projects) just could not catch up with our student growth. This is why we are crowded now. By comprehensive redistricting, we will have more capacity issue even we temporarily solve the number issue for the moment. Please see the open seat calculation based on each school https://chaowu.org/2019/01/21/2018-hcpss-open-seat-calculation-and-projection/.

2) check how many students will be redistricted twice or how many isolated island in polygons. considering the new high school #13 will open in two years (after this)with more than 1600 capacity.

3) what are the travel time, transportation cost for the redistricting proposal? for example, the same distance on 108 may cost 5 minutes, but 25 minutes on Route 1. Maybe the new proposal will save time or cost. maybe not. We need a baseline number.

My suggestion on defining the objective of this redistricting before hiring a consultant was rejected unfortunately by other board members. I want to make sure this BOE will not make the same mistake as the previous BOE on the school starting time investigation. They spent money on consultant and found the solutions were not acceptable at all.

My suggestion on quantifying Policy 6010 was not up. We should put more objective performance indicators in the process. We know redistricting will put many people in high emotion with various reasons. Without sorting this out from the start, it will face obstacles in the future. There are people who want to move other people’s kids. There are people who dont’ want to move at all even at a crowded school. There are people who value their community schools, etc. I saw them all and talked to them all.

I am afraid we will end the same cycle as last year. Let’s try to disrupt our students as less as possible.

Keep tuned. I am looking forward to your feedback again. The board email is boe@hcpss.org.