HCPSS Student Yield Per House Unit Increasing

There have been discussions on the student yield per house unit, especially the resale yield and new development yield. Please see my other article: https://chaowu.org/2021/05/30/latency-and-disconnect-in-the-new-construction-yield-and-school-over-capacity/ . I have strong opposition to use new development yield to plan for new housing development. There is no need to use two yield numbers as the Howard County Council used before. Just use a moving average number per school level is good enough to project student growth. I believe many families moving into Howard County for better education and we should try our best to provide that education support and maintain that quality.

Based on data collected, originally from Drew Roth, then augmented by Arthur Wang, I computed the student yield per house unit. Thank you, Drew and Arthur. I removed the enrollment data of 2020 and 2021 because of pandemic and only use the data between 2013-2019.

From Figure 1, we could see the trend is clear: HCPSS Student Number per House Unit is increasing over years. There are possible reasons (demographic shift) I can think of right now (a little over simplified):

  1. Newly developed homes have more students per house unit than old homes do.
  2. Senior residents without school age children moving out faster than families with children moved in.
  3. On average, families moving in have more children than families moving out.
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4

The data is attached below:

I would love to hear your feedback and refine my analysis.

My APFO questions

On Monday, BOE and County Council had a conversation on the APFO. I raised a few questions:

  1. In the overarching objective, I did not see “meet residents’ needs” as a goal of APFO.
  2. The low impact fee or surcharge fee is a huge problem for the long deferred maintenance we are facing now. HCPSS is in a crisis of overcrowded and short of capital project funding. Schools we are building now will need significant renovation in 20 years, which is actually quicker than many people think. Our newest, Marriotts Ridge High School, many people still feel it is new, actually was built in 2005 and it is 16 years old already.
  3. In the traffic study section, I strongly opposed that traffic study was paid and presented by the developers themselves. The study should be impartial. The county should collect fees from developers and outsource that study to a third independent party. The same principles should apply to other studies too.
  4. There is a problem using the resale and new development yield number as presented for the county to project new housing student yield. The yield for new house development only consider the first year number and did not consider the accumulated impact.

Attached please see the latest APFO.

Please share your feedback with us. I am going to have some further discussions with county council members on this.

Speech at New Educator Orientation

Good morning.

I’m pleased to be among the first to welcome each of you to our school system. Though we are all wearing masks, that doesn’t change this message of welcoming.

As a new educator or an educator taking on a new opportunity, you’re at the start of a wonderful professional journey. You are sure to enjoy many fulfilling and exciting moments during your first year and in the years to come. At the same time, the first year of teaching is always challenging, and we know the pandemic brings some additional challenges.

Please know that the school system, your home school, and this community are here for you, and we will support you every step of the way. We all want to help you with a good start, and make sure you have the support and resources you’ll need to be successful.

You, our educators and staff, can only be at their best if you feel valued and effective in your roles. An excellent program of professional development has been prepared to support you, starting with this orientation and continuing throughout your career with our school system.

The road you have chosen is one of the most meaningful and rewarding life adventures that anyone can experience. I thank you for committing to the education profession and joining our school system, especially during this unprecedented time. After seeing what has happened and is happening in this country, I would say we need to rejuvenate the teaching of science and democracy. We should teach our students to be good people, and remind them of their responsibility in this world.

I belong to a family of teachers. My older brother, sister-in-law, and my three little brothers and sisters are all teachers. Their dedication and support for their students always inspire me. In reflection of my own teachers and professors, I credit my success today to them, because they trusted me to be capable of achieving something. That trust broke the barrier of poverty and instability and propelled me forward.

I am also looking forward to our own community, our parents, our students, and community leaders showing their support for you. Each of them has an important role to play.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to society and culture support for your work. The education of the younger generation lays the foundation for this country’s future.

On behalf of the Board of Education, congratulations, and welcome once again to the Howard County Public School System.

Update on HCPSS Double Busing Evaluation

Update on HCPSS Double Busing Evaluation

I know many parents and students are impacted by the double busing issue which was due to severe driver shortage. My daughter’s afternoon bus schedule is impacted by an hour too. We have been asking the school system to keep examining this. Here is the latest update:

We will keep the current implementation in place. We will continue to examine the situation and make adjustments. Both the data and justification are attached in the following letter.

After evaluating the opportunities and considerations it is our recommendation to keep the existing structure of the double busing in place. We could revisit this for the spring semester as certain variables may change over the coming months. The two main variables would be known or committed ridership and an increase in drivers. As new drivers are placed into operation, we are trying to eliminate the most impacted routes, which could result in different outcomes in the data. 

If you have any questions, please contact Scott W. Washington, Chief Operating Officer at scott_washington@hcpss.org, or Brian Nevin, Director of Student Transportation at brian_nevin@hcpss.org. 

2021 Update on Cafeteria Protocols and Self Check Reminders

These are latest update for the school opening on August 30,2021.

Last week, a message was sent detailing several updates related to the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Below is additional information authorized by the superintendent related specifically to cafeteria protocols and the self check process that every family will be expected to perform daily before sending their child to school.

Cafeteria Updates

There are several updates related to cafeteria protocols to further reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19. All schools will have outdoor eating spaces available on campus for student use as weather and staffing permits to lessen the number of students in the cafeteria. In an effort to maintain a healthy environment in cafeterias, the following actions are being implemented: 

  • Additional tables have been ordered and will be distributed to schools to help ensure outside eating areas are furnished as well as to allow maximum spacing indoors. 

  • Based on the availability of products from vendors, large tents that are compliant with local code will be provided to elementary schools to increase outdoor dining spaces. We anticipate a number of tents will be in place to begin the school year with additional tents being provided in September.

  • Plexiglass shields for indoor cafeteria tables are being secured for grades k-6 where students are largely unable to be vaccinated. These panels will provide additional protection between students who are unable to be vaccinated while eating when masks cannot be worn.


COVID-19 Self-Screening Symptoms Self Check

Parents/guardians should keep their children home if they are experiencing symptom(s) associated with any communicable disease, including COVID-19. In addition, parents/guardians are to perform the following COVID-19 health check every day before the student leaves home.

A child should NOT come to school with any of these symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.4 degrees or higher

  • Sore throat

  • Cough

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Diarrhea or vomiting

  • New onset of severe headache (especially with fever), or

  • New loss of taste or smell


For persons with chronic conditions such as asthma, the symptoms should represent a change from baseline.

Children exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 may not attend school. 

Please visit the HCPSS website for additional information on self screening, contact tracing and quarantining procedures. Additionally, visit the HCPSS website for more information on the 2021-2022 school year and answers to frequently asked questions.

Latest HCPSS School Year 2021-2022 Update

Latest HCPSS School Year 2021-2022 Update

We may have new updates. This update is the most-up-to-date guideline for five days in-person education for HCPSS from our superintendent Dr. Martirano.

We will ask all students and staff wearing masks. HCPSS will require all employees to provide proof of full vaccination or undergo regular COVID-19 testing.

We still have many unknowns and many challenges ahead. Let’s work together and address them one by one.

HCPSS Eliminates Health Fund Deficit Two Years Ahead of Schedule

HCPSS Eliminates Health Fund Deficit Two Years Ahead of Schedule

 July 12, 2021

This press release is being sent jointly by the Howard County Public School System and County Executive’s Office

Ellicott City, Maryland — Howard County Public School System Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano, joined by Board of Education Chair Dr. Chao Wu, County Executive Calvin Ball, County Council Chair Liz Walsh, and system and county leaders, today announced the school system’s health fund deficit will be eliminated this year (fiscal year 2022) – two years ahead of schedule.

The deficit, which began in 2015 and was first discussed publicly in May 2017 by then newly hired Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano, grew to $39.2 million before a combination of several efforts were implemented to halt the continuing deficit growth. The first step was to begin to fully fund actuarially projected health insurance costs and then begin to pay down the deficit. In 2019, a plan was jointly developed by the Superintendent and County Executive to eliminate the deficit by fiscal year 2024. Using savings within the school system’s operating budget, a one-time infusion of funds from the Howard County Government, and a lower-than-expected claims experience in fiscal years 2021 and 2022, the health deficit will be eliminated in this current fiscal year (July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022) with an estimated $5 million positive balance if claims are consistent with actuarial projections. 

“This deficit has significantly constrained our operating budget for several years and limited our ability to adequately fund several priorities,” said Superintendent Martirano. “Eliminating the deficit became an immediate top priority for me and Board of Education members. Today truly is a momentous day as we can celebrate that our commitment and collaboration has finally addressed this deficit and that the Howard County Public School System will not be hampered by this looming deficit year after year. It is our responsibility and the responsibility of all future leaders in our county to ensure that our employee health care costs are fully funded.”

“The School System’s Health Fund Deficit represented a significant fiscal challenge that our Administration and County Council had to confront upon taking office. In just 3 years, we have accomplished something truly remarkable: we have taken a near $40 million deficit and turned it into a projected surplus of over $5 million,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “Our Administration, School System and Board of Education faced a daunting challenge, met it head on, and resolved the issue working together. I am proud of the work we’ve done to eliminate the Health Fund Deficit and am thankful to have good partners like Dr. Martirano, the members of the Board of Education, and our Howard County Council to make today possible.”

“This was not a problem created by this Board or this Superintendent, but it was ours to fix,” said Board Chair Wu. “Since 2017, this Board of Education has prioritized fully funding the actuarially projected health insurance costs, preventing the deficit from growing. We will continue to prioritize the health benefits that our employees receive and engage in sound financial practices to ensure we never find ourselves in this position again.”
 
“The County Council has shared consistently with the Superintendent’s and Board of Education’s goal to eliminate this health fund deficit as quickly as we possibly could,” said Liz Walsh, County Council Chair. “So much so that we voted unanimously in support of an amendment to dedicate an additional $2.5 million to this exclusive purpose. We can now all turn our attention to fully funding the present needs and future needs of our county school system and the children in our care at this very moment and for generations to come.”

The Superintendent detailed several collaborative efforts to eliminate the health fund deficit:

  • The efforts of the Board of Education’s steadfast commitment to fully funding the actuarially projected health insurance costs to stop the deficit from growing
  • The County Executive and County Council’s collaboration by dedicating significant contributions to deficit reduction
  • The strategic budgetary measures that were put in place to generate year-end savings in the HCPSS General Fund to help pay down the deficit
  • Unanticipated health cost savings in the Health Fund producing operating gains

“Today truly is a momentous day as we celebrate that our commitment and collaboration has finally addressed this deficit and our budgetary focus will not be on getting out of a multi-million dollar debt but on how the budget can support the very important programs and services that our students and staff need. This includes implementing the Blueprint for Maryland legislation and welcoming back all of our students back to school next month to normalized instruction,” added Martirano. 

 

HoCo BOE hiring board administrator

Our current board administrator Mrs. Kathy Hanks will retire soon. We will miss Mrs. Hanks greatly. Her professionalism is the best I have ever seen.

We are hiring for a new one.

Position Type:
  Central Office, Professional/Administrator to the Board of Education

Date Posted:
  6/25/2021

Location:
  Central Office, Howard County Public School System

Closing Date:
  07/11/2021

Here is the link for application

https://www.applitrack.com/hcpss/onlineapp/default.aspx?Category=Central+Office%2c+Professional

Administrator to the Board of Education
This position opens on June 25, 2021 and closes July 11, 2021.


DESCRIPTION
Under the supervision of the Chairman of the Board of Education (BOE), the Administrator to the Board of Education provides oversight and implementation of the daily operations of the Board of Education office including the supervision of assigned administrative staff.  The Administrator serves as a liaison between members of the Board of Education, Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) staff, and constituents.  The Administrator works closely with the Office of the Superintendent to coordinate joint meetings, the development of the quarterly agenda, and the response to urgent matters.

The ideal candidate for this position has exceptional ability to manage complex and time sensitive projects. With outstanding customer service and communication skills, this individual deals tactfully and effectively with school administrators, school system staff, external organizations, and the general public. The ideal candidate is skilled in the use a variety of computer software and cloud-based applications such as Microsoft Office, Google Workspace, and video conferencing platforms. The ability to exercise judgment, resourcefulness, discretion, and confidentiality in this role is paramount.

To learn more about employment with HCPSS, please visit https://www.hcpss.org/employment/.

ESSENTIAL POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Schedules and participates in all Board of Education business meetings, work sessions, special meetings, and public hearings, documenting actions and discussions. Provides leadership in agenda management by preparing and maintaining all Board meeting agendas. Transcribes, prepares, and oversees distribution of meeting minutes. Oversees maintenance of official archive of all Board meeting minutes.  Maintains the confidentiality of materials.
  • Serves as the primary compliance officer for the Open Meetings Act as it pertains to Board meetings. Ensures all meeting are announced and agenda posted.
  • Maintains the Board calendar and strategically plans and implements activities related to official Board business. Establishes short-term and long-term priorities and milestones to address them on time.
  • Serves as first point of contact between the Board and the community.  Exercises independent judgment to answer questions from constituents and internal staff on matters related to the Board, originates a wide variety of correspondence, and refers inquiries to the appropriate person or department. Interprets and communicates HCPSS policies as needed to respond to and resolve inquiries.
  • Maintains effective communication and collaboration with the Office of the Superintendent.
  • Provides timely notice to the Board of sensitive or potential crisis situations within the school system.
  • Collects, researches, compiles, organizes, and presents information on a variety of issues at the request of Board Members. Maintains a list of Board requests for action, unfinished Board business, and future agenda items. Follows up with staff on outstanding action items.
  • Serves as the liaison for appeals to the Board of Education.  Collaborates with the Board’s attorney concerning Board requests and appeals by the public and employees. Processes appeals to the Board in accordance with established procedures. Arranges Board hearings in a timely manner. Informs appellant of the Board’s appeal procedures. Assigns hearing examiner and ensures relevant legal material is available for review prior to the hearing.
  • Coordinates Board retreats and orientation for new Board members. Schedules professional development for Board members as needed. Informs Board members of operating procedures and protocol for meetings, hearings, executive sessions, and other Board activities.
  • Establishes and maintains communication and effective working relationships with community and stakeholder groups, internal and external organizations, and agencies that provide educational related services.
  • Maintains the Board calendar and has authority for commitment of time. Arranges meetings between Board members and executive staff, elected officials, and other constituents as requested.

The above list is a summary of the functions of the job, not an exhaustive or comprehensive list of all possible job responsibilities, tasks, and duties.


MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS
Applicants must meet all the following qualifications, listed below, to be considered for the vacancy.

Education:

  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in public or business administration, public relations, communications, or a related field.

Experience:

  • At least (5) five years of experience working with senior leadership and executive level staff and providing leadership in the execution of highly complex projects and administrative tasks. 
  • Experience supervising and training staff.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Experience running effective meetings utilizing parliamentary procedure.
  • Knowledge of the Maryland Open Meetings Act.
  • Experience utilizing BoardDocs Pro or similar school board management software.
  • Knowledge of the Maryland Annotated Code for Education.
  • Knowledge of the general organization and functions of Maryland public school systems.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Ability to work evenings and occasional weekends, frequently under pressure.

SALARY
This is a 12-month per year position in the Administrative, Management, and Technical employee group. The current salary range for this position is Group G, $102,020- $148,624. Salary placement will be in conjunction with salary procedures of the Howard County Public School System which considers relevant prior experience. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, this position is exempt from overtime.


APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS
Only applicants who submit all the requested information by the closing date of the vacancy will be considered for this position. Interviews will be limited to those applicants who, in addition to meeting the basic requirements, have experiences and education which most closely match the position qualifications and the needs of the school system. 

Please note that a completed application includes:

  • A complete application form that includes a listing of employment locations with dates of employment and names of direct supervisors.
  • All supplemental materials (i.e.: resume, letter of introduction, and transcripts) required to verify that you meet the minimum qualifications.

HCPSS requires an official evaluation of foreign credentials to verify educational qualifications.
For questions regarding this vacancy, please contact:

Sandy Saval
Human Resources Business Partner
Office of Human Resources
(410) 313-6689
sandy_saval@hcpss.org


Equal Opportunity Employer
The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  HCPSS ensures equal employment opportunity for all persons without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.

20 recommendations from 2021 OBRC

Here are 20 recommendations from 2021 OBRC.

  1. The OBRC recommends the Board request the Superintendent to obtain and provide the Board with a health benefit participation comparison among peer counties to clarify the findings in SB and Company’s Agreed-Upon Procedures Report. (Recommendation approved 12 to 5 with 2 abstentions) 

2. The OBRC recommends that HCPSS modernize its technology curriculum to expand the introduction to coding as a second language and computer science as a core discipline from K-12. (Recommendation approved unanimously) 

3. The OBRC recommends the Board fully fund the line item on page 290 of the Superintendent’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Budget of $174,000 for contracted services that “Increases funding to provide reading intervention and dyslexia tutoring services provided by Orton Gillingham.” (Recommendation approved unanimously) 

4. The OBRC recommends the Board direct the Superintendent to present a cost-benefit analysis of the expected expenditures and/or savings incurred or expected through advancing expertise, training and certification of critical education staff and shifting to in-house staff development in science based and data driven reading intervention programs (one example is Orton Gillingham) to provide student tutoring versus contracting with outside services. (Recommendation approved unanimously) 

5. The OBRC recommends the Board direct the Superintendent to more clearly define the HCPSS implementation process and initiatives that allow HCPSS to sustain and fully comply with the Ready to Read Act of 2019 and the key performance indicators on page 289 of the Superintendent’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Budget and to decrease the achievement gap of students that are identified as failing the benchmark of proficient in reading, including defining the 5 year (or longer) plan and the expected operating dollars that would be expended and/or saved. (Recommendation approved unanimously) 

6. The OBRC recommends the Board direct the Superintendent to conduct a comparative analysis, using surrounding school districts, of the special education teachers/teacher’s aides to student ratio and the respective average caseloads. The OBRC requests the analysis compare current job descriptions and responsibilities of special education related services and support staff (i.e. paraprofessionals and behavioral specialists), to provide information to assess if HCPSS is utilizing the most effective staffing formula models to provide mandated special education services. (Recommendation approved unanimously) 

7. The OBRC recommends the Board direct the Superintendent to conduct a cost-benefit analysis for utilizing HCPSS employed and trained staff vs. temporary teacher’s aides, including the expected 

expenditures and/or savings incurred to convert staff from temporary to full-time employees and necessary steps and timeline for the conversion. (Recommendation approved unanimously) 

8. The OBRC recommends the Board request detailed staff turnover reports for Programs 3320 & 3321 for fiscal years 2018 to 2020 to explain the discrepancies between the budgets and actuals for salaries. The Board requests the report include the number of vacancies on the first day of school, the last day of the first semester, and the last day of school. (Recommendation approved unanimously) 

9. The OBRC recommends the Board request a detailed explanation of where excess funds for Programs 3320 & 3321 were reallocated/reinvested in fiscal years 2018 to 2020 (excluding the federal pass-through funding in fiscal year 2020 that distorts the final numbers). (Recommendation approved unanimously) 

10. The OBRC recommends the Board request that the fiscal year 2022 budget reflect the delineation between federal pass-through dollars in Program 3321 – Contracted Labor and traditional funding sources to clarify the massive increase in spending that has not been explained in the fiscal year 2021 budget or fiscal year 2022 budget proposal. (Recommendation approved unanimously) 

11. The OBRC recommends the Board review salary increases and discontinue the practice of “me-too” salary adjustments for AMT staff not covered under the bargaining positions to achieve closer alignment with salary maximums in peer counties. (Recommendation approved unanimously) 

12. The OBRC recommends the Board direct the Superintendent to provide the Board with a comparison of four similar size peer county models for administration of community service and pass-through programs such as Health Services, Infants & Toddlers, and Mental Health Services to clarify the cost impact on HCPSS. (Recommendation approved unanimously) 

13. The OBRC recommends the Board include full funding of $5,357,451 in the Operating Budget for the Funding Commitments for Special Education New Enrollment. (Recommendation approved by consensus) 

14. The OBRC recommends the Board ask the Superintendent to prepare a report that includes information from each department and/or division that has Policy 1080 implementation responsibility and budgetary impact. (Recommendation approved by consensus) 

15. The OBRC recommends the Board provide full funding from sources including the Operating Budget and other sources of funds for the new Digital Education Center. (Recommendation approved by consensus) 

16. The OBRC recommends the Board include full funding in the Operating Budget for Sustaining Technology Infrastructure and Cybersecurity Safeguards. (Recommendation approved 13 to 0 with 2 abstentions) 

17. The OBRC recommends the Board include full funding in the Operating Budget for Enhanced Efforts in Reading Instruction and Dyslexia Training. (Recommendation approved by consensus) 

18. The OBRC recommends the Board consider the one-time funding listed in the application for ESSER II in determining what areas may be reasonable to consider reducing in the primary Operating Budget, where one-time expenditures exist, with the intention to leverage the enhanced opportunities in state funding to meet HCPSS goals. (Recommendation approved 9 to 0 with 5 abstentions) 

19. The OBRC recommends the Board not set the management presentation schedule for the OBRC. (Recommendation approved 12 to 1) 

20. The OBRC recommends the Board give the OBRC an opportunity to provide monthly reports at Board meetings during the budget period of January to June to improve communication and feedback between the Board and the OBRC. (Recommendation approved by consensus) 

Latency and Disconnect in the new construction yield and school over-capacity

There have been continuous discussions of school prediction where new housing development is not reflecting the school overcrowding issue. Here I am sharing some numbers from 15 housing developments. We have the projected student numbers and the real enrollment in 2018,2019 and 2020. The real enrollment is as high as 6 times as projected for High School, 4.66 times for Middle School and 3.61 times for Elementary School. Why is there such a disconnect? Here are some of my thoughts.

  1. The first year projection (New Construction Yield for Howard County Council terminology) on new housing development does not tell the whole story.
  2. One example, when the house permit is approved in the first year and the house is sold on the second year, it will be counted as resale. For the general public, this should be counted as new development enrollment.
  3. We should look at accumulated enrollment number over the years on new development parcel until it is done. There is a huge latency and discrepancy while only considering the new student number at the first year.
  4. I propose that the impact number (New Construction Yield) should use a different formula:
    • total enrolled students after all houses are sold divided by total house number
    • it could be further divided by total year of development carefully if we need consider yearly yield.
  5. I am looking forward to the new number based on this formula for New Construction Yield.
  6. After all houses are sold, there will be continuous resale. Then we can make a simple assumption that those resale will follow the general housing market.

What is your thought? Please share it with me at chao_wu@hcpss.org. Thanks a lot for helping me understand this issue better. Together we hope we can get this right.

The ration between Real Enrollment over New Construction Yield

The real enrollment

The New Construction Yield:

The data is attached here for your reference. I am very grateful that BOE board member VicKy Cutroneo put many efforts on this and shared this data with me.

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.

Chart School Application

HCPSS BOE is receiving its first charter school application, at least in my term. Here it is the application document for discussion on Thursday May 27, 2021. The school will be located in Elkridge and focus on students with needs.

The report provides the evaluation of the Reading Opens Doors, Inc charter school application. The original letter of intent and application were received on August 7, 2020 with the final application documents received on March 4, 2021. The applicant’s focus is to maximize the academic abilities of K-5th vulnerable and marginalized children and help them to pursue their dreams.

Here is the application pdf file.

Latest APFO chart from HCPSS

The Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) School Capacity charts are utilized as part of the growth management process of Howard County for new residential developments. The test year for the 2021 APFO
School Capacity Charts is SY 2024-25. For SY 2024-25, there are 22 elementary, six middle, and five high
schools listed as constrained. Additionally, there are two elementary school regions listed as constrained,
which constrains two additional schools, bringing the total to 24 elementary schools. (see Attachment 2).