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.
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.